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CLASS OF 1919 

Samii-el Taylo7- Coleridge at 4Y 









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Copyright, 1895, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Cambridgf, Mass., XI. S. A. 
Eleotrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co. 


HiTHEETO no attempt has been made to publish a 
collection of Coleridge's Letters. A few specimens were 
published in his lifetime, both in his own works and in 
magazines, and, shortly after his death in 1834, a large 
number appeared in print. Allsop's " Letters, Conversa- 
tions, and Recollections of S. T. Coleridge," which was 
issued in 1836, contains forty-five letters or parts of let- 
ters ; Cottle in his " Early Recollections " (1837) prints, 
for the most part incorrectly, and in piecemeal, some sixty 
in all, and Gillman, in his "Life of Coleridge" (1838), 
contributes, among others, some letters addressed to him- 
self, and one, of the greatest interest, to Charles Lamb. 
In 1847, a series of early letters to Thomas Poole ap- 
peared for the first time in the Biographical Supplement 
to the " Biographia Literaria," and in 1848, when Cottle 
reprinted his " Early Recollections," under the title of 
" Reminiscences of Coleridge and Southey," he included 
sixteen letters to Thomas and Josiah Wedgwood. In 
Southey's posthumous " Life of Dr. Bell," five letters 
of Coleridge lie imbedded, and in " Southey's Life and 
Correspondence " (1849-50), four of his letters find an 
appropriate place. An interesting series was published in 
1858 in the " Fragmentary Remains of Sir H. Davy," 
edited by his brother. Dr. Davy ; and in the " Diary of 
H. C. Robinson," published in 1869, a few letters from 
Coleridge are interspersed. In 1870, the late Mr. W. 
Mark W. Call printed in the " Westminster Review " 
eleven letters from Coleridge to Dr. Brabant of Devizes, 


dated 1815 and 1816 ; and a series of early letters to 
Godwin, 1800-1811 (some of which had appeared in 
" Maemillan's Magazine " in 1864), was included by Mr. 
Kegan Paul in his " William Godwin" (1876). In 1874, 
a correspondence between Coleridge (1816-1818) and his 
publishers, Gale & Curtis, was contributed to " Lippin- 
cott's Magazine," and in 1878, a few letters to Matilda 
Betham were published in " Fraser's Magazine." During 
the last six years the vast store which still remained un- 
published has been drawn upon for various memoirs and 
biographies. The following works containing new letters 
are given in order of publication : Herr Brandl's " Samuel 
T. Coleridge and the English Romantic School," 1887 ; 
" Memorials of Coleorton," edited by Professor Knight, 
1887; "Thomas Poole and his Friends," by Mrs. H. Sand- 
ford, 1888 ; " Life of Wordsworth," by Professor Knight, 
1889 ; " Memoirs of John Murray," by Samuel Smiles, 
LL. D., 1891 ; " De Quincey Memorials," by Alex. Japp, 
LL. D., 1891 ; " Life of Washington Allston," 1893. 

Notwithstanding these heavy draughts, more than half 
of the letters which have come under my notice remain 
unpublished. Of more than forty which Coleridge wrote 
to his wife, only one has been published. Of ninety letters 
to Southey which are extant, barely a tenth have seen the 
light. Of nineteen addressed to W. Sotheby, poet and 
patron of poets, fourteen to Lamb's friend John Rick- 
man, and four to Coleridge's old college friend, Arch- 
deacon Wrangham, none have been published. Of more 
than forty letters addressed to the Morgan family, which 
belong for the most part to the least knoT\Ti period of 
Coleridge's life, — the years which intervened between his 
residence in Grasmere and his final settlement at Hiffh- 
gate, — only two or three, preserved in the MSS. Depart- 
ment of the British Museum, have been published. Of 
numerous letters written in later life to his friend and 
amanuensis, Joseph Henry Green ; to Charles Augustus 


Tulk, M. P. for Sudbury ; to his friends and hosts, the 
Gillmans ; to Gary, the translator of Dante, only a few 
have found their way into print. Of more than forty to 
his brother, the Rev. George Coleridge, which were acci- 
dentally discovered in 1876, only five have been printed. 
Of some fourscore letters addressed to his nephews, Wil- 
liam Hart Coleridge, John Taylor Coleridge, Henry Nel- 
son Coleridge, Edward Coleridge, and to his son Derwent, 
all but two, or at most three, remain in manuscript. Of 
the youthful letters to the Evans family, one letter has 
recently appeared in the " Illustrated London News," and 
of the many addressed to John Thelwall, but one was 
printed in the same series. 

The letters to Poole, of which more than a hundred 
have been preserved, those addressed to his Bristol friend, 
Josiah Wade, and the letters to Wordsworth, which, though 
few in number, are of great length, have been largely used 
for biographical purposes, but much, of the highest inter- 
est, remains unpublished. Of smaller groups of letters, 
published and unpublished, I make no detailed mention, 
but in the latter category are two to Charles Lamb, one 
to John Sterling, five to George Cattermole, one to John 
Kenyon, and many others to more obscure correspondents. 
Some important letters to Lord Jeffrey, to John Murray, 
to De Quincey, to Hugh James Rose, and to J. H. B. 
Williams, have, in the last few years, been placed in my 
hands for transcription. 

A series of letters written between the years 1796 and 
1814 to the Rev. John Prior Estlin, minister of the 
Unitarian Chapel at Lewin's Mead, Bristol, was printed 
some years ago for the Philobiblon Society, with an in- 
troduction by Mr. Henry A. Bright. One other series of 
letters has also been printed for private circulation. In 
1889, the late Miss Stuart placed in my hands transcrip- 
tions of eighty-seven letters addressed by Coleridge to her 
father, Daniel Stuart, editor of "The Morning Post" and 


" Courier," and these, together with letters from Words- 
worth and Southey, were printed in a single volume bear- 
ing the title, "Letters from the Lake Poets." Miss 
Stuart contributed a short account of her father's life, 
and also a reminiscence of Coleridge, headed " A Fare- 

Coleridge's biographers, both of the past and present 
generations, have met with a generous response to their 
appeal for letters to be placed in their hands for reference 
and for publication, but it is probable that many are in 
existence which have been withheld, sometimes no doubt 
intentionally, but more often from inadvertence. From 
his boyhood the poet was a voluminous if an irregular 
correspondent, and many letters which he is known to 
have addressed to his earliest friends — to Middleton, to 
Robert Allen, to Valentine and Sam Le Grice, to Charles 
Lloyd, to his Stowey neighbour, John Cruikshank, to Dr. 
Beddoes, and others — may yet be forthcoming. It is 
certain that he corresponded with Mrs. Clarkson, but if 
any letters have been preserved they have not come under 
my notice. It is strange, too, that among the letters of 
the Highgate period, which were sent to Henry Nelson 
Coleridge for transcription, none to John Hookham Frere, 
to Blanco White, or to Edward Irving appear to have 
been forthcoming. 

The foregoing summary of published and unpublished 
letters, though necessarily imperfect, will enable the 
reader to form some idea of the mass of material from 
which the present selection has been made. A complete 
edition of Coleridge's Letters must await the " coming 
of the milder day," a renewed long-suffering on the part 
of his old enemy, the " literary pnblic." In the mean- 
while, a selection from some of the more important is 
here offered in the belief that many, if not all, will find 
a place in permanent literature. The letters are arranged 
in chronological order, and are intended rather to illus- 


trate tlie story of tlie writer's life than to embody his 
critical opinions, or to record the development of his phi- 
losophical and theological speculations. But letters of 
a purely literary character have not been excluded, and 
in selecting or rejecting a letter, the sole criterion has 
been. Is it interesting ? is it readable ? 

In letter-writing perfection of style is its own recom- 
mendation, and long after the substance of a letter has 
lost its savour, the form retains its original or, it may be, 
an added charm. Or if the author be the founder of a 
sect or a school, his writings, in whatever form, are re- 
ceived by the initiated with unquestioning and insatiable 
delight. But Coleridge's letters lack style. The fastidi- 
ous critic who touched and retouched his exqviisite lyrics, 
and always for the better, was at no pains to polish his 
letters. He writes to his friends as if he were talking to 
them, and he lets his periods take care of themselves. 
Nor is there any longer a school of reverent disciples to 
receive what the master gives and because he gives it. 
His influence as a teacher has passed into other channels, 
and he is no longer regarded as the oracular sage " ques- 
tionable " concerning all mysteries. But as a poet, as a 
great literary critic, and as a " master of sentences," he 
holds his own and appeals to the general ear ; and though, 
since his death, in 1834, a second generation has all but 
passed away, an unwonted interest in the man himself 
survives and must always survive. For not only, as 
Wordsworth declared, was he " a wonderfid. man," but 
the story of his life was a strange one, and as he tells it, 
we " cannot choose but hear." Coleridge, often to his 
own detriment, " wore his heart on his sleeve," and, now 
to one friend, now to another, sometimes to two or three 
friends on the same day, he would seek to unburthen 
himself of his hopes and fears, his thoughts and fancies, 
his bodily sufferings, and the keener pangs of the soul. 
It is, to quote his own words, these " profound touches of 


the human heart " which command our interest in Cole- 
ridge's Letters, and invest them with their peculiar 

At what period after death, and to what extent the pri- 
vate letters of a celebrated person should be given to the 
world, must always remain an open question both of taste 
and of morals. So far as Coleridge is concerned, the 
question was decided long ago. Within a few years of 
his death, letters of the most private and even painful 
character were published without the sanction and in spite 
of the repeated remonstrances of his literary executor, and 
of all who had a right to be heard on the subject. Thence- 
forth, as the published writings of his immediate descend- 
ants testify, a fuller and therefore a fairer revelation was 
steadily contemplated. Letters collected for this purpose 
find a place in the present volume, but the selection has 
been made without reference to previous works or to any 
final presentation of the material at the editor's disposal. 

My acknowledgments are due to many still living, and 
to others who have passed away, for their generous per- 
mission to print unpublished letters, which remained in 
their possession or had passed into their hands. 

For the continued use of the long series of letters which 
Poole entrusted to Coleridge's literary executor in 1836, 
I have to thank Mrs. Henry Sandford and the Bishop of 
Gibraltar. For those addressed to the Evans family I am 
indebted to Mr. Alfred Morrison of Fonthill. The let- 
ters to Thelwall were placed in my hands by the late Mr. 
F. W. Cosens, who afforded me every facility for their 
transcription. For those to Wordsworth my thanks are 
due to the poet's grandsons, Mr. William and Mr. Gor- 
don Wordsworth. Those addressed to the Gillmans I 
owe to the great kindness of their granddaughter, Mrs. 
Henry Watson, who placed in my hands all the materials 
at her disposal. For the right to publish the letters to 
H. F. Gary I am indebted to my friend the Rev. Offley 


Gary, the grandson of the translator of Dante. My ac- 
knowledgments are further due to the late Mr. John 
Murray for the right to republish letters which appeared 
in the "Memoirs of John Murray," and two others which 
were not included in that work ; and to Mrs, Watt, the 
daughter of John Hunter of Craigcrook, for letters ad- 
dressed to Lord Jeffrey. From the late Lord Houghton 
I received permission to publish the letters to the Rev. 
J. P. Estlin, which were privately printed for the Philo- 
biblon Society. I have already mentioned my obligations 
to the late Miss Stuart of Harley Street. 

For the use of letters addressed to his father and grand- 
father, and for constant and unwearying advice and as- 
sistance in this work I am indebted, more than I can well 
express, to the late Lord Coleridge. Alas ! I can only 
record my gratitude. 

To Mr. William Rennell Coleridge of Salston, Ottery 
St. Mary, my especial thanks are due for the interesting 
collection of unpublished letters, many of them relating to 
the " Army Episode," which the poet wrote to his brother, 
the Rev. George Coleridge. 

, I have also to thank Miss Edith Coleridge for the use 
of letters addressed to her father, Henry Nelson Cole- 
ridge ; my cousin, Mrs. Thomas W. Martyn of Torquay, 
for Coleridge's letter to his mother, the earliest known 
to exist ; and Mr. Arthur Duke Coleridge for one of the 
latest he ever wrote, that to Mrs. Aders. 

During the preparation of this work I have received 
valuable assistance from men of letters and others. I 
trust that I may be permitted to mention the names of 
Mr. Leslie Stephen, Professor Knight, Mrs. Henry Sand- 
ford, Dr. Garnett of the British Museum, Professor Eniile 
Legouis of Lyons, Mrs. Henry Watson, the Librarians of 
the Oxford and Cambridge Club, and of the Kensing-ton 
Public Library, and Mrs. George Boyce of Chertsey. 

Of my friend, Mr. Dykes Campbell, I can only say that 


lie has spared neither time nor trouble in my behalf. Not 
only during the progress of the work has he been ready 
to give me the benefit of his unrivalled knowledge of the 
correspondence and history of Coleridge and of his con- 
temporaries, but he has largely assisted me in seeing the 
work through the press. For the selection of the letters, 
or for the composition or accuracy of the notes, he must 
not be held in any way responsible ; but without his aid, 
and without his counsel, much, which I hope has been ac- 
complished, could never have been attempted at all. Of 
the invaluable assistance which I have received from his 
published works, the numerous references to his edition 
of Coleridge's " Poetical Works " (MacmiUan, 1893), and 
his " Samuel Taylor Coleridge, A Narrative " (1894), are 
sufficient evidence. Of my gratitude he needs no assur- 



Born, October 21, 1772. 

Death of his father, October 4, 1781. 

Entered at Christ's Hospital, July 18, 1782. 

Elected a " Grecian," 1788. 

Discharg-ed from Christ's Hospital, September 7, 1791. 

Went into residence at Jesus College, Cambridge, October, 1791. 

Enlisted in King-'s Regiment of Light Dragoons, December 2, 1793. 

Discharged from the army, April 10, 1794. 

Visit to Oxford and introduction to Southey, June, 1794. 

Proposal to emigrate to America — Pantisocracy — Autumn, 1794. 

Final dej)arture from Cambridge, December, 1794. 

Settled at Bristol as public lecturer, January, 1795. 

Married to Sarah Frieker, October 4, 1795. 

Publication of " Conciones ad Populum," Clevedon, November 16, 1795. 

Pantisocrats dissolve — Rupture vsrith Southey — November, 1795. 

Publication of first edition of Poems, AprU, 1796. 

Issue of " The Watchman," March 1-May 13, 1796. 

Birth of Hartley Coleridge, September 19, 1796. 

Settled at Nether-Stowey, December 31, 1796. 

Publication of second edition of Poems, June, 1797. 

Settlement of Wordsworth at Alfoxden, July 14, 1797. 

The ' ' Ancient Mariner ' ' begun, November 13, 1797. 

First part of " Christabel," begun, 1797. 

Acceptance of annuity of £150 from J. and T. Wedgwood, January, 1798. 

Went to Germany, September 16, 1798. 

Returned from Germany, July, 1799. 

First visit to Lake Country, October-November, 1799. 

Began to write for "Morning Post," December, 1799. 

Translation of Schiller's " Wallenstein," Spring, 1800. 

Settled at Greta Hall, Keswick, July 24, 1800. 

Birth of Derwent Coleridge, September 14, 1800. 

Wrote second part of " Cliristabel, " Autumn, 1800. 

Began study of German metaphysics, 1801. 

Birth of Sara Coleridge, December 23, 1802. 

Publication of third edition of Poems, Summer, 1803. 

Set out on Scotch tour, August 14, 1803. 

Settlement of Southey at Greta Hall, September, 1803. 

Sailed for Malta in the Speedwell, April 9, 1804. 

Arrived at Malta, May 18, 1804. 

First tour in Sicily, August-November, 1804. 

Left Malta for Syracuse, September 21, 1805. 


Residence in Rome, January-May, 1806. 

Returned to England, August, 1806. 

Visit to Wordsworth at Coleorton, December 21, 1806. 

Met De Quincey at Bridgwater, July, 1807. 

First lecture at Royal Institution, January 12, 1808. 

Settled at Allan Bank, Grasmere, September, 1808. 

First number of " The Friend," June 1, 1809. 

Last number of " The Friend," March 15, 1810. 

Left Greta Hall for London, October 10, 1810. 

Settled at Hammersmith with the Morgans, November 3, 1810. 

First lecture at London Philosophical Society, November 18, 1811. 

Last visit to Greta Hall, February-March, 1812. 

First lecture at Willis's Rooms, May 12, 1812. 

First lecture at Surrey Institution, November 3, 1812. 

Production of " Remorse " at Drury Lane, January 23, 1813. 

Left London for Bristol, October, 1813. 

First course of Bristol lectures, October-November, 1813. 

Second course of Bristol lectures, December 30, 1813. 

Third course of Bristol lectures, AprU, 1814. 

Residence with Josiah Wade at Bristol, Summer, 1814. 

Rejoined the Morgans at Ashley, September, 1814. 

Accompanied the Morgans to Calne, November, 1814. 

Settles with Mr. Gillman at Highgate, April 16, 1816. 

Publication of " Christabel," June, 1816. 

Publication of the " Statesman's Manual," December, 1816. 

Publication of second " Lay Sermon," 1817. 

Publication of " Biographia Literaria " and " Sibylline Leaves," 1817. 

First acquaintance with Joseph Henry Green, 1817. 

Publication of " Zapolya,' ' Avitunin, 1817. 

First lecture at " Flower-de-Luce Court," January 27, 1818. 

Publication of " Essay on Method,' ' January, 1818. 

Revised edition of " The Friend," Spring, 1818. 

Introduction to Thomas AUsop, 1818. 

First lecture on "History of Philosophy," December 14, 1818. 

First lecture on "Shakespeare " (last course), December 17, 1818. 

Last public lecture, "History of Philosophy," March 29, 1819. 

Nominated " Royal Associate " of Royal Society of Literature, May, 

Read paper to Royal Society on "Prometheus of .^Eschylus," May 15, 

Publication of " Aids to Reflection," May-June, 1825. 
Publication of "Poetical Works," in three volumes, 1828. 
Tour on the Rhine with Wordsworth, June-July, 1828. 
Revised issue of " Poetical Works," in three volumes, 1829. 
Marriage of Sara Coleridge to Henry Nelson Coleridge, September 3, 1829. 
Publication of " Church and State," 1830. 
Visit to Cambridge, June, 1833. 
Death, July 25, 1834. 


1. The Complete Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. New York: 
Harper and Brothers. 7 vols. 1853. 

2. Biographia Literaria [etc.]. By S. T. Coleridge. Second edition, 
prepared for publication in part by the late H. N. Coleridge : completed 
and published by his widow. 2 vols. 1847. 

3. Essays on His Own Times. By Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edited by 
his daughter. London : WiUiam Pickering. 3 vols. 1850. 

4. The Table Talk and Omniana of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edited 
by T. Ashe. George BeU and Sons. 1884. 

5. Letters, Conversations, and Recollections of S. T. Coleridge. [Edited 
by Thomas AUsop. First edition published anonymously.] Moxon. 2 
vols. 1836. 

6. The Life of S. T. Coleridge, by James Gillman. In 2 vols. (Vol. 
I. only was published.) 1838. 

7. Memorials of Coleorton : being Letters from Coleridge, Wordsworth 
and his sister, Southey, and Sir Walter Scott, to Sir George and Lady 
Beaumont of Coleorton, Leicestershire, 1803-1834. Edited by William 
Knight, University of St. Andrews. 2 vols. Edinburgh. 1887. 

8. Unpublished Letters from S. T. Coleridge to the Rev. John Prior 
Estlin. Communicated by Henry A. Bright (to the Philobiblon Society). 
n. d. 

9. Letters from the Lake Poets — S. T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, 
Robert Southey — to Daniel Stuart, editor of The Morning Post and The 
Courier. 1800-18.38. Printed for private circulation. 1889. [Edited by 
Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge, in whom the copyright of the letters of S. T. 
Coleridge is vested.] 

10. The Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edited, with a 
Biographical Introduction, by James Dykes Campbell. London and New 
York : MacmiUan and Co. 1893. 

11. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. A Narrative of the Events of His Life. 
By James Dykes Campbell. London and New York : MacmiUan and Co. 

12. Early Recollections : chiefly relating to the late S. T. Coleridge, 
during his long residence in Bristol. 2 vols. By Joseph Cottle. 1837. 

13. Reminiscences of S. T. Coleridge and R. Southey. By Joseph 
Cottle. 1847. 

14. Fragmentary Remains, literary and scientific, of Sir Humphry Davy, 
Bart. Edited by his brother, John Davy, M. D. 1858. 

15. The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt. London. 18G0. 


16. Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robin- 
son. Selected and Edited by Thomas Sadler, Ph. D. London. 1869. 

17. A Group of Englishmen (1795-1815) : being records of the younger 
Wedgwoods and their Friends. By Eliza Meteyard. 1871. 

18. Memoir and Letters of Sara Coleridge [Mrs. H. N. Coleridge]. 
Edited by her daughter. 2 vols. 1873. 

19. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the English Romantic School. By 
Alois Brandl. English Edition by Lady Eastlake. London. 1887. 

20. The Letters of Charles Lamb. Edited by Alfred Ainger. 2 vols. 

21. Thomas Poole and his Friends. By Mrs. Henry Sandford. 2 vols. 

22. The Life and Correspondence of R. Southey. Edited by his son, the 
Rev. Charles Cuthbert Southey. 6 vols. 1849-50. 

23. Selections from the Letters of R. Southey. Edited by his son-in- 
law, John Wood Waiter, B. D. 4 vols. 1856. 

24. The Poetical Works of Robert Southey, Esq., LL. D. 9 vols. 
London. 1837. 

25. Memoirs of William Wordsworth. By Christopher Wordsworth, 
D. D., Canon of Westminster [afterwards Bishop of Lincoln]. 2 vols. 

26. The Life of WiUiam Wordsworth. By William Knight, LL. D. 
3 vols. 1889. 

27. The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. With an 
Introduction by John Morley. London and New York : Macmillan and 
Co. 1889. 


Note. Where a letter has been printed previously to its appearance in 
this work, the name of the book or periodical containing it is added in 


I. Thomas Poole, February, 1797. (Biographia Literaria, 1847, 

ii. 313) 4 

II. Thomas Poole, March, 1797. (Biographia Literaria, 1847, 

ii. 315) 6 

III. Thomas Poole, October 9, 1797. (Biographia Literaria, 

1847, ii. 319) 10 

IV. Thomas Poole, October 16, 1797. (Biographia Literaria, 

1847, ii. 322) 13 

v. Thomas Poole, February 19, 1798. (Biographia Literaria, 

1847, ii. 326) 18 

VI. Mrs. Coleridge, Senior, February 4, 1785. (Illustrated 

London News, April 1, 1893) 21 

VII. Rev. George Coleridge, undated, before 1790. (Illus- 
trated London News, April 1, 1893) 22 

VIII. Rev. George Coleridge, October 16, 1791. (Illustrated 

London News, April 8, 1893) 22 

IX. Rev. George Coleridge, January 24, 1792 . . .23 

X. Mrs. Evans, February 13, 1792 26 

XL Mary Evans, February 13, 1792 30 

XII. Anne Evans, February 19, 1792 37 

XIII. Mrs. Evans, February 22 [1792] 39 

XIV. Mary Evans, February 22 [1792] 41 

XV. Rev. George Coleridge, April [1792]. (Illustrated Lon- 
don News, AprU 8, 1893) 42 

XVI. Mrs. Evans, February 5, 1793 45 

XVII. Mary Evans, February 7, 1793. (Illustrated London 

News, April 8, 1893) 47 

XVIII. Anne Evans, February 10, 1793 52 

XIX. Rev. George Coleridge, July 28, 1793 .... 53 

XX. Rev. George Coleridge [Postmark, August 5, 1793] . 55 

XXI. G. L. Tuckett, February 6 [1794]. (Illustrated London 

News, April 15, 1893) 57 


XXII. Rev. George Coleridge, February 8, 1794 . 

XXIII. Rev. George Coleridge, February 11, 1794 

XXIV. Capt. James Coleridge, February 20, 1794. (Brandl's 

Life of Coleridge, 1887, p. 65) . 
XXV. Rev. George Coleridge, March 12, 1794. (Illustrated 
London News, April 15, 189:3) . . . • • 
XXVI. Rev. George Coleridge, March 21, 1794 . 
XXVII. Rev. George Coleridge, end of March, 1794 
XXVIII. Rev. George Coleridge, March 27, 1794 . 
XXIX. Rev. George Coleridge, March 30, 1794 . 
XXX. Rev. George Coleridge, April 7, 1794 
XXXL Rev. George Coleridge, May 1, 1794 
XXXII. Robert Southey, July 6, 1794. (Sixteen Unes pub- 
lished, Southey's Life and Correspondence, 1849, i. 212) 72 

XXXIII. Robert Southey, July 15, 1794. (Portions published 

in Letter to H. Martin, July 22, 1794, Biographia Lit- 
eraria, 1847, ii. 338) "^^ 

XXXIV. Robert Southey, September 18, 1794. (Eighteen lines 

published, Southey's Life and Correspondence, 1849, i 


XXXV. Robert Southey, September 19, 1794 
XXXVI. Robert Southey, September 26, 1794 
XXXVII. Robert Southey, October 21, 1794 
XXXVIII. Robert Southey, November, 1794 
XXXIX. Robert Southey, Autumn, 1794. (Illustrated London 
News, April 15, 1893) .... 
XL. Rev. George Coleridge, November 6, 1794 
XLI. Robert Southey, December 11, 1794 . 
XLII. Robert Southey, December 17, 1794 . 
XLIII. Robert SouTHEY', December, 1794. (Eighteen lines pub- 
lished, Southey's Life and Correspondence. 1849. i. 227) 121 
XLIV. Mary Evans, (?) December, 1794. (Samuel Taylor Cole- 
ridge, A Narrative, 1894, p. 38) 122 

XLV. IMary Evans, December 24, 1794. (Samuel Taylor Cole- 
ridge, A Narrative, 1894, p. 40) 124 

XL VI. Robert Southey, December, 1794 .... 125 

XLVII. Joseph Cottle, Spring, 1795. (Early Recollections 

18^7, i.KO "... 133 

XLVIII. Joseph Cottle, Julv 31, 1795. (Earlv Recollections 

1837, i. 52) : . . ; 133 

XLIX. Joseph Cottle, 1795. (Early Recollections, 1837, i. 55) 134 
L. Robert Southey, October, 1795 ..... 134 
LI. Thomas Poole, October 7, 1795. (Biographia Lite- 

raria, 1847, ii. 347) ••..... 136 
LII. Robert Southey, November 13, 1795 .... 137 





LIU. JosiAH Wade, January 27, 1796. (Biographia Literaria, 

1847, ii. 350) , . . .151 

LIV. Joseph Cottle, February 22, 1796. (Early Recollec- 
tions, 1837, i. 141 ; Biographia Literaria, 1847, ii. 356) 154 
LV. Thomas Poole, March 30, 1796. (Biographia Lite- 
raria, 1847, ii. 357) 155 

LVI. Thomas Poole, May 12, 1796. (Biographia Literaria, 
1847, ii. 366 ; Thomas Poole and his Friends, 1887, i. 

144) 158 

LVII. John Thelwall, May 13, 1796 159 

LVIII. Thomas Poole, May 29, 1796. (Biographia Literaria, 

1847, ii. 368) 164 

LIX. John Thelwall, June 22, 1796 166 

LX. Thomas Poole, September 24, 1796. (Biographia Lite- 
raria, 1847, ii. 373 ; Thomas Poole and his Friends, 

1887, i. 155) 168 

LXI. Charles Lamb [September 28, 1796]. (Gillman's Life 

of Coleridge, 1838, pp. 338-340) 171 

LXn. Thomas Poole, November 5, 1796. (Biographia Lite- 
raria, 1847, ii. 379 ; Thomas Poole and his Friends, 

1887, i. 175) 172 

LXIII. Thomas Poole, November 7, 1796 . . . .176 
LXIV. John Thelwall, November 19 [1796]. (Twenty-six 
lines published, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, A Narrative, 

1894, p. 58) 178 

LXV. Thomas Poole, December 11, 1796. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, i. 182) . . . . .183 
LXVI. Thomas Poole, December 12, 1796. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, i. 184) 184 

LXVII. Thomas Poole, December 13, 1796. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, i. 186) 187 

LXVIII. John Thelwall, December 17, 1796 . . . .193 
LXIX. Thomas Poole [? December 18, 1796]. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, i. 195) 208 

LXX. John Thelwall, December 31, 1796 .... 210 


LXXL Rev. J. P. Estlin [1797]. (Privately printed, Philo- 

biblon Society) 213 

LXXII. John Thelwall, February 6, 1797 . . . .214 
LXXIII. Joseph Cottle, June, 1797. (Early Recollections, 1837, 

i. 250) 220 

LXXIV. Robert Southet, July, 1797 221 

LXXV. John Thelwall [October 16], 1797 . . . .228 

LXXVI. John Thelwall [Autumn, 1797] 231 

LXXVII. John Thelwall [Autumn, 1797] 232 


LXXVIII. William Wordsworth, January, 1798. (Ten lines 
published, Life of Wordsworth, 1889, i. 128) . 
LXXIX. Joseph Cottle, March 8, 1798. (Part published in- 
correctly, Early Recollections, 1837, i. 251) 
LXXX. Rev. George Coleridge, April, 1798 
LXXXI. Rev. J. P. EsTLiN,May [? 1798]. (Privately printed 
Philobiblon Society) ...... 

LXXXII. Rev. J. P. Estlin, May 14, 1798. (Privately printed 
Philobiblon Society) ...... 

LXXXIII. Thomas Poole, May 14, 1798. (Thirty-one lines pub 
lislied, Thomas Poole and his Friends, 1887, i. 268) 
LXXXIV. Thomas Poole [May 20, 1798]. (Eleven lines pub- 
lished, Thomas Poole and his Friends, 1887, i. 269) 
LXXXV. Charles Lamb [spring of 1798] 


LXXXVI. Thomas Poole, September 15, 1798. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, i. 273) 

LXXXVII. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, September 19, 1798 
LXXXVIII. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, October 20, 1798 . 
LXXXIX. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, November 26, 1798 . 
XC. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, December 2, 1798 . 
XCI. Rev. Mr. Roskilly, December 3, 1798 

XCII. Thomas Poole, January 4, 1799 

XCIII. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, January 14, 1799 . 

XCIV. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, March 12, 1799. (lUustrated 

London News, April 29, 1893) 

XCV. Thomas Poole, April 6, 1799 . . . • . 
XCVI. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, April 8, 1799. (Thirty lines pub- 
lished, Thomas Poole and his Friends, 18S7, i. 295) . 
XCVII. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, April 23, 1799 
XCVIII. Thomas Poole, May 6, 1799. (Thomas Poole and liis 
Friends, 1887, i. 297) 


SorTHEV, July 29, 1799 
Poole, September 16, 1799 . 
Southey, October 15, 1799 . 
Southey, November 10, 1799 
Southey, December 9 [1799] 
Southey [December 24], 1799 
Southey, January 25, 1800 . 
Southey [early in 1800] 
Southey [Postmark, February 18], 1800 
Southey [early in 1800] 
Southey, February 28, 1800 . 





































CHAPTER VI. A LAKE POET, 1800-1803. 

ex. Thomas Poole, August 14, 1800. (Illustrated Lon- 
don News, May 27, 1893) 

CXI. Sir H. Davy, October 9, 1800. (Fragmentary Re- 
mains, 1858, p. 80) 

CXII. Sir H. Davy, October 18, 1800. (Fragmentary Re- 
mains, 18-58, p. 79) ....... 

CXIII. Sir H. Davy, December 2, 1800. (Fragmentary Re- 
mains, 18.58, p. 83) 

CXIV. Thomas Poole, December .5, 1800. (Eight lines pub- 
lished, Thomas Poole and his Friends, 1887, ii. 21) . 
CXV. Sir H. Davy, February 3, 1801. (Fragmentary Re- 
mains, 1858, p. 86) 
CXVI. Thomas Poole, March 16, 1801 . 
CXVII. Thomas Poole, March 23, 1801 . 
CXVIII. Robert Southey [May 6, 1801] 
CXIX. Robert Southey, July 22, 1801 
CXX. Robert Southey, July 25, 1801 
CXXI. Robert Southey, August 1, 1801 
CXXII. Thomas Poole, September 19, 1801. (Thomas Poole 

and his Friends, 1887, ii. 65) 
CXXIII. Robert Southey, December 31, 1801 
CXXIV. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge [February 24, 1802] 
CXXV. W. Sotheby, July 13, 1802 , 
CXXVI. W. Sotheby, July 19, 1802 . 
CXXVII. Robert Southey, July 29, 1802 
CXXVIII. Robert Southey, August 9, 1802 
CXXIX. W. Sotheby, August 26, 1802 . 
CXXX. W. Sotheby, September 10, 1802 
CXXXI. W. Sotheby, September 27, 1802 
CXXXII. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, November 16, 1802 
CXXXIII. Rev. J. P. Estlin, December 7, 1802. (Privately 

printed, Philobiblon Society) 
CXXXIV. Robert Southey, December 25, 1802 
CXXXV. Thomas Wedgwood, January 9, 1803 
CXXXVI. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, April 4, 1803 . 
CXXXVII. Robert Southey, July 2, 1803 . 
CXXXVIII. Robert Southey, July, 1803 . 
CXXXIX. Robert Southey, August 7, 1803 

CXL. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, September 1, 1803 
CXLI. Robert Southey, September 10, 1803 
CXLII. Robert Southey, September 13, 1803 
CXLIII. Matthew Coaxes, December 5, 1803 











Samuel Taylor Coleridge, aged forty-seven. From a pencil- 
sketch by C R. Leslie, R. A., now in the possession of the editor. 


Colonel James Coleridge, of Heath's Court, Ottery St. Mary. 
From a pastel drawing now in the possession of the Right Honour- 
able Lord Coleridge 60 

The Cottage at Clevedon, occupied by S. T. Coleridge, October- 
November, 1795. From a photograph 136 

The Cottage at Nether Stowey, occupied by S. T. Coleridge, 
1797-1800. From a photograph taken by the Honourable Stephen 
Coleridge 214 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, aged twenty-six. From a pastel sketch 
taken in Germany, now in the possession of Miss Ward of Marsh- 
mills, Over Stowey 262 

Robert Southey, aged forty-one. From an etching on copper. Pri- 
vate plate 304 

Greta Hall, Keswick. From a photograph 336 

Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, aged thirty-nine. From a miniature by Ma- 
tilda Betham, now in the possession of the editor 368 

Sara Coleridge, aged six. From a miniature by Matilda Betham, 
now in the possession of the editor 416 










The five autobiographical letters addressed to Thomas 
Poole were written at Nether Stowey, at irregular inter- 
vals during the years 1797-98. They are included in 
the first chapter of the " Biographical Supplement " to 
the " Biographia Literaria." The larger portion of this 
so-called Biographical Supplement was prepared for the 
press by Henry Nelson Coleridge, and consists of the 
opening chapters of a proposed " biographical sketch," 
and a selection from the correspondence of S. T. Coleridge. 
His widow, Sara Coleridge, when she brought out the 
second edition of the "Biographia Literaria" in 1847, 
published this fragment and added some matter of her 
own. This edition has never been reprinted in England, 
but is included in the American edition of Coleridge's 
Works, which was issued by Harper & Brothers in 1853. 

The letters may be compared with an autobiographical 
note dated March 9, 1832, which was written at Gillman's 
request, and forms part of the first chapter of his " Life of 
Coleridge." ^ The text of the present issue of the auto- 
biographical letters is taken from the original MSS., and 
differs in many important particulars from that of 1847. 
1 Pickering, 1838. 



Monday, February, 1797. 

My dear Poole, — I could inform the dullest author 
how he might write an interesting book. Let him relate 
the events of his own life with honesty, not disguising the 
feelings that accompanied them. I never yet read even a 
Methodist's Experience in the " Gospel Magazine " with- 
out receiving instruction and amusement; and I should 
ahuost despair of that man who could peruse the Life of 
John Woolman ^ without an amelioration of heart. As to 
my Life, it has all the charms of variety, — high life and 
low life, vices and virtues, great folly and some wisdom. 
However, what I am depends on what I have been ; and 
you, my hest Friend ! have a right to the narration. To 
me the task will be a useful one. It will renew and 
deepen my reflections on the past ; and it "v\'ill perhaps 
make you behold with no unforgiving or impatient eye 
those weaknesses and defects in my character, which so 
many untoward circumstances have concurred to plant 

My family on my mother's side can be traced up, I 
know not how far. The Bowdons inherited a small farm 
in the Exmoor country, in the reign of Elizabeth, as I 
have been told, and, to my own knowledge, they have inher- 
ited nothing better since that time. On my father's side 
I can rise no higher than my grandfather, who was born 
in the Hundred of Coleridge ^ in the count)^ of Devon, 

1 The Jonrnal of John Woolman, pare, too, Essays of Elia, " A Qiia- 

the Quaker abolitionist, was pnb- kers' Meeting." " Get the writings 

lished in Philadelphia in 1774, and of John Woolman by heart ; and 

in London in 1775. From a letter love the early Quakers." Letters of 

of Charles Lamb, dated January 5, Charles Lamb, 1S8S, i. 61 ; Prose 

1707, we may conclude that Charles Works, 1836, ii. 106. 

Lloyd had, in the first instance, ^ I have been unable to trace any 

drawn Coleridge's attention to the connection between the family of 

writings of John Woolman. Com- Coleridge and the Parish or Hun- 


christened, educated, and apprenticed to the garish. He 
afterwards became a respectable woollen - draper in the 
town of South Molton.i (I have mentioned these par- 
ticulars, as the time may come in which it will be useful 
to be able to prove myself a genuine sans-culotte^ my 
veins uncontaminated with one drop of gentility.) My 
father received a better education than the others of his 
family, in consequence of his own exertions, not of his 
superior advantages. When he was not quite sixteen 
years old, my grandfather became bankrupt, and by a 
series of misfortunes was reduced to extreme poverty. 
My father received the half of his last crown and his 
blessing, and walked off to seek his fortune. After he 
had proceeded a few miles, he sat him down on the side of 
the road, so overwhelmed with painfid thoughts that he 
wept audibly. A gentleman passed by, who knew him, and, 
inquiring into his distresses, took my father with him, 
and settled him in a neighbouring town as a schoolmas- 
ter. His school increased and he got money and know- 
ledge : for he commenced a severe and ardent student. 
Here, too, he married his first wife, by whom he had three 
daughters, all now alive. While his first wife lived, hav- 
ing scraped up money enough at the age of twenty ^ he 

dred of Coleridge in North Devon, here, if anywhere, it must have been 

Coldridg-es or Coleridges have been that the elder John Coleridge " be- 

settled for more than two hundred came a respectable woollen-draper." 
years in Doddiscombsleigh, Ashton, ^ John Coleridge, the younger, 

and other villages of the Upper was in his thirty-first year when lie 

Teign, and to the southwest of was matriculated as sizar at Sidney 

Exeter the name is not uncommon. Sussex College, Cambridge, March 

It is probable that at some period 18, 1748. He is entered in the col- 

before the days of parish registers, legQhooks&^Jilius Johannis textoris. 

strangers from Coleridge who had On the loth of June, 1749, he was 

settled farther south were named appointed to the mastership of 

after their birthplace. Squire's Endowed Grammar School 

^ Probably a mistake for Crediton. at South Molton. It is strange that 

It was at Crediton that Jolin Cole- Coleridge forgot or failed to record 

ridge, the poet's father, was born this incident in his father's life. His 

(Feb. 21, 1718) and educated; and mother came from the neighbour- 


walked to Cambridge, entered at Sidney College, distin- 
guished himself for Hebrew and Mathematics, and might 
have had a fellowship if he had not been married. He 
returned — his wife died. Judge Buller's father gave 
him the living of Ottery St. Mary, and put the present 
judge to school with him. He married my mother, by 
whom lie had ten children, of whom I am the youngest, 
born October 20, 1772. 

These sketches I received from my mother and aunt, 
but I am utterly unaljle to fill them up by any particu- 
larity of times, or places, or names. Here I shall con- 
clude my first letter, because I cannot pledge myself for 
the accuracy of the accounts, and I will not therefore 
mingle them with those for the accuracy of which in the 
minutest parts I shall hold myself amenable to the Tri- 
bunal of Truth. You must regard this letter as the first 
chapter of an history which is devoted to dim traditions 
of times too remote to be pierced by the eye of investi- 
gation. Yours affectionately, 



Sunday, March, 1797. 

My dear Poole, — My father (Vicar of, and School- 
master at, Ottery St. Mary, Devon) was a profound 
mathematician, and well versed in the Latin, Greek, and 
Oriental Languages. He published, or rather attempted 
to publish, several works : 1st, Miscellaneous Disserta- 
tions arising from the 17th and 18th Chapters of the 
Book of Judges ; 2d, Scntentice excerptce, for the use of 
his own school ; and 3d, his best work, a Critical Latin 
Grammar ; in the preface to which he proposes a bold 
innovation in the names of the cases. My father's new 

hood, and several of his father's judge, followed him from South 
scholars, among them Francis Bui- Molton to Ottery St. Mary, 
ler, afterwards the well - known 


nomenclature was not likely to become popular, although 
it must be allowed to be both sonorous and expressive. 
Exempli gratia^ he calls the ablative the quippe-quare- 
quale-quia-quidditive case ! My father made the world 
his confidant with respect to his learning and ingenuity, 
and the world seems to have kept the secret very faith- 
fuQy. His various works, uncut, unthumbed, have been 
preserved free from all pollution. This piece of good luck 
promises to be hereditary ; for all my compositions have 
the same amiable home-studying propensity. The truth 
is, my father was not a first-rate genius ; he was, how- 
ever, a first-rate Christian. I need not detain you with 
his character. In learning, good-heartedness, absentness 
of mind, and excessive ignorance of the world, he was a 
perfect Parson Adams. 

My mother was an admirable economist, and managed 
exclusively. My eldest brother's name was John. He 
went over to the East Indies in the Company's service ; 
he was a successful officer and a brave one, I have heard. 
He died of a consmnption there about eight years ago. 
My second brother was called William. He went to 
Pembroke College, Oxford, and afterwards was assistant 
to Mr. Newcome's School, at Hackney. He died of a 
putrid fever the year before my father's death, and just 
as he was on the eve of marriage with Miss Jane Hart, 
the eldest daughter of a very wealthy citizen of Exeter. 
My third brother, James, has been in the army since the 
aare of sixteen, has married a woman of fortune, and now 
lives at Ottery St. Mary, a respectable man. My brother 
Edward, the wit of the family, went to Pembroke College, 
and afterwards to Salisbury, as assistant to Dr. Skinner. 
He married a woman twenty years older than his mother. 
She is dead, and he now lives at Ottery St. Mary. My 
fifth brother, George, was educated at Pembroke College, 
Oxford, and from there went to Mr. Newcome's, Hackney, 
on the death of William. He stayed there fourteen years, 


when the living of Ottery St. Mary ^ was given him. There 
he has now a fine school, and has lately married Miss 
Jane Hart, who with beauty and wealth had remained a 
faithful widow to the memory of William for sixteen 
years. My brother George is a man of reflective mind 
and elegant genius. He possesses learning in a greater 
degree than any of the family, excepting myself. His 
manners are grave and hued over with a tender sadness. 
In his moral character he approaches every way nearer to 
perfection than any man I ever yet knew ; indeed, he is 
worth the whole family in a lump. My sixth brother, 
Luke (indeed, the seventh, for one brother, the second, 
died in his infancy, and I had forgot to mention him), was 
bred as a medical man. He married Miss Sara Hart, and 
died at the age of twenty-two, leaving one child, a lovely 
boy, still alive. My brother Luke was a man of uncom- 
mon genius, a severe student, and a good man. The 
eighth child was a sister, Anne.^ She died a little after 
my brother Luke, aged twenty-one ; 

Rest, gentle Shade ! and wait thy Maker's will ; 
Then rise unchanged, and be an Angel still I 

The ninth child was called Francis. He went out as a 
midshipman, luider Admiral Graves. His ship lay on 
the Bengal coast, and he accidentally met his brother 
John, who took him to land, and procured him a eonunis- 
sion in the Army. He died from the effects of a delirious 
fever brought on by liis excessive exertions at the siege of 
Seringapatam, at which his conduct had been so gallant, 
that Lord Cornwallis paid him a high compliment in 
the presence of the army, and presented him with a val- 

1 George Coleridge was Chaplain and early death form the subject of 

Priest, and Master of the King's two of Coleridge's early sonnets. 

School, but never Vicar of Ottery Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor 

St. Mary. Coleridge, Macmillan, 1893, p. 13. 

- Anne (" Nancy ") Coleridge died See, also, " Lines to a Friend," p. 37, 

in her twenty-fifth year. Her illness and "Frost at Midnight," p. 127. 


uable gold watcli, which my mother now has. All my 
brothers are remarkably handsome ; but they were as in- 
ferior to Francis as I am to them. He went by the name 
of " the handsome Coleridge." The tenth and last child 
was S. T. Coleridge, the subject of these epistles, born 
(as I told you in my last) October 20,^ 1772. 

From October 20, 1772, to October 20, 1773. Chris- 
tened Samuel Taylor Coleridge — my godfather's name 
being Samuel Taylor, Esq. I had another godfather 
(his name was Evans), and two godmothers, both called 
"Monday." 2 From October 20, 1773, to October 20, 
1774. In this year I was carelessly left by my nurse, 
ran to the fire, and pulled out a live coal — burnt my- 
seK dreadfully. While my hand was being dressed by 
a Mr. Young, I spoke for the first time (so my mother 
informs me) and said, "nasty Doctor Yomig!" The 
snatching at fire, and the circumstance of my first words 
expressing hatred to professional men — are they at all 
ominous ? This year I went to school. My schoolmistress, 

1 A mistake for October 21st. she had the barbarity to revenge by 

^ Compare some doggerel verses striking me out of her Will." 

" On Mrs. Monday's Beard " -which The epigram is not worth quoting, 

Coleridge wrote on a copy of but it is curious to observe that, 

Southey's Omniana, under the head- even when scribbling for his own 

ing of "Beards" {Omniana, 1812, amusement, and without any view 

ii. 54). Southey records the legend to publication, Coleridge covild not 

of a female saint, St. VuUgef ortis, resist the temptation of devising an 

who in answer to her prayers was " apologetic preface." 

rewarded with a beard as a mark of The verses, etc., are printed in 

divine favour. The story is told in Table Talk and Omniana, Bell, 1888, 

some Latin elegiacs from the Annus p. 391. The editor, the late Thomas 

Sacer Poeticus of the Jesuit Sautel Ashe, transcribed them from Gill- 

which Southey quotes at length, man's copy of the Omniana, now in 

Coleridge comments thus, " Pereant the British Museum. I have fol- 

qui ante nos nostra dixere ! What ! lowed a transcript of the marginal 

can nothing be one's own ? This is note made by Mrs. H. N. Coleridge 

the more vexatious, for at the age of before the volume was cut in bind- 

eighteen I lost a legacy of Fifty ing. Her version supplies one or 

pounds for the following Epigram two omissions, 
on my Godmother's Beard, which 


the very image of Shenstone's, was named Old Dame Key. 
She was nearly related to Sir Joshua Reynolds. 

From October 20, 1774, to October 20, 1775. I was 
inoculated ; which I mention because I distinctly remem- 
ber it, and that my eyes were bound ; at which I mani- 
fested so much obstinate indignation, that at last they 
removed the bandage, and unaffrighted I looked at the 
lancet, and suffered the scratch. At the close of the year 
I could read a chapter in the Bible. 

Here I shall end, because the remaining years of my 
life all assisted to form my particular mind ; — the three 
first years had nothing in them that seems to relate to it. 

(Signature cut out.) 


October 9, 1797. 

My deaeest Poole, — From March to October — a 
long silence ! But [as] it is possible that I may have been 
preparing materials for future letters,^ the time cannot 
be considered as altogether subtracted from you. 

From October, 1775, to October, 1778. These three 
years I continued at the Reading School, because I was 
too little to be trusted among my father's schoolboys. 
After breakfast I had a halfpenny given me, with which 
I bought three cakes at the baker's close by the school 
of my old mistress ; and these were my dinner on every 
day except Saturday and Sunday, when I used to dine at 
home, and wallowed in a beef and pudding dinner. I am 
remarkably fond of beans and bacon ; and this fondness 
I attribute to my father having given me a penny for 

1 The meaning is that the events Dorothy at Alfoxden, would hereaf- 

which had taken place between ter be recorded in his autobiography. 

March and October, 1797, the com- He had failed to complete the rec- 

position, for instance, of his tragedy, ord of the past, only because he had 

Osorio, the visit of Charles Lamb to been too much occupied with the 

the cottage at Nether Stowey, the present, 
settling of Wordsworth and his sister 


having eat a large quantity of beans on Saturday. For 
the other boys did not like them, and as it was an eco- 
nomic food, my father thought that my attachment and 
penchant for it ought to be encouraged. My father was 
very fond of me, and I was my mother's darling : in con- 
sequence I was very miserable. For Molly, who had 
nursed my brother Francis, and was immoderately fond 
of him, hated me because my mother took more notice 
of me than of Frank, and Frank hated me because my 
mother gave me now and then a bit of cake, when he had 
none, — quite forgetting that for one bit of cake which I 
had and he had not, he had twenty sops in the pan, and 
pieces of bread and butter with sugar on them from Molly, 
from whom I received only thumps and ill names. 

So I became fretful and timorous, and a tell-tale ; and 
the schoolboys drove me from play, and were always 
tormenting me, and hence I took no pleasure in boyish 
sports, but read incessantly. M-j father's sister kept an 
everything shop at Crediton, and there I read through 
all the gilt-cover little books ^ that could be had at that 
time, and likewise all the uncovered tales of Tom Hicka- 
thrift, Jack the Giant-killer, etc., etc., etc., etc. And I 

^ He records his timorous passion used to wateli, till the sun shining 

for fairy stories in a note to The on the bookcase approached, and, 

Friend (ed. 1850, i. 192). Another glowing full upon it, gave me the 

version of the same story is to be courage to take it from the shelf. I 

found in some MS. notes (taken by heard of no little Billies, and sought 

J. Tomalin) of the Lectures of 1811, no praise for giving to beggars, and 

the only record of this and other I trust that my heart is not the 

lectures : — worse, or the less inclined to feel 

Lecture &th, 1811. " Give me," sympathy for all men, because I 

cried Coleridge, with enthiisiasm, first learnt the powers of my nature, 

"the works which delighted my and to reverence that nature — for 

youth ! Give me the History of St. who can feel and reverence the na- 

George, and the Seven Champions of ture of man and not feel deeply for 

Christendom, which at every leisure the affliction of others possessing 

moment I used to hide myself in a like powers and like nature ? " 

comer to read ! Give me the Ara- Tomalin's Shorthand Report of Lee- 

bian Nights'" Entertainments, which I ture V. 


used to lie by the wall and mope^ and my spirits used to 
come upon me suddenly ; and in a flood of them I was 
accustomed to race up and down the churchyard, and act 
over all I had been reading, on the docks, the nettles, and 
the rank grass. At six years old I remember to have read 
Belisarius, Robinson Crusoe, and Philip Quarles ; and then 
I found the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, one tale of 
which (the tale of a man who was compelled to seek for 
a pure virgin) made so deep an impression on me (I had 
read it in the evening while my mother was mending 
stockings), that I was haunted by spectres, whenever I 
was in the dark : and I distinctly remember the anxious 
and fearful eagerness with which I used to watch the 
window in which the books lay, and whenever the sun lay 
upon them, I would seize it, carry it by the wall, and bask 
and read. My father foiuid out the effect which these 
books had produced, and burnt them. 

So I became a dreamer^ and acquired an indisposition 
to all bodily activity ; and I was fretful, and inordinately 
passionate, and as I could not play at anything, and was 
slothful, I was despised and hated by the boys : and be- 
cause I could read and spell and had, I may truly say, a 
memory and understanding forced into almost an unnat- 
ural ripeness, I was flattered and wondered at by all the 
old women. And so I became very vain, and despised 
most of the boys that were at all near my owti age, and 
before I was eight years old I was a character. Sensi- 
bility, imagination, vanity, sloth, and feelings of deep and 
bitter contempt for all who traversed the orbit of my un- 
derstanding, were even then prominent and manifest. 

From October, 1778, to 1779. That which I began to 
be from three to six I continued from six to nine. In this 
year [1778] I was admitted into the Grammar School, and 
soon outstripped all of my age. I had a dangerous putrid 
fever this year. My brother George lay ill of the same 
fever in the next room. My poor brother Francis, I 


remember, stole up in spite of orders to the contrary, and 
sat by my bedside and read Pope's Homer to me. Frank 
had a violent love of beating me ; but whenever that 
was superseded by any humour or circumstances, he was 
always very fond of me, and used to regard me with a 
strange mixture of admiration and contempt. Strange 
it was not, for he hated books, and loved climbing, 
fighting, playing and robbing orchards, to distraction. 

My mother relates a story of me, which I repeat here, 
because it must be regarded as my first piece of wit. 
During my fever, I asked why Lady Northcote (our 
neighbour) did not come and see me. My mother said 
she was afraid of catching the fever. I was piqued, and 
answered, " Ah, Mamma ! the four Angels round my bed 
an't afraid of catching it ! " I suppose you know the 
prayer : — 

" Matthew ! Mark ! Luke and John ! 
God bless the bed which I lie on. 
Four angels round me spread, 
Two at my foot, and two at my head." 

This prayer I said nightly, and most firmly believed the 
truth of it. Frequently have I (half-awake and half- 
asleep, my body diseased and fevered by my imagination), 
seen armies of ugly things bursting in upon me, and these 
four angels keeping them off. In my next I shall carry 
on my life to my father's death. 

God bless you, my dear Poole, and your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 


October 16, ITOY. 

Dear Poole,— From October, 1779, to October, 1781. 
I had asked my mother one evening to cut my cheese 
entire, so that I might toast it. This was no easy matter, 
it being a crumbly cheese. My mother, however, did it. 
I went into the garden for something or other, and in 


the mean time my brother Frank minced my cheese " to 
disappoint the favorite." I returned, saw the exploit, 
and in an agony of passion flew at Frank. He pretended 
to have been seriously hurt by my blow, flung himself on 
the ground, and there lay with outstretched limbs. I 
hung over him moaning, and in a great fright ; he leaped 
up, and with a horse-laugh gave me a severe blow in the 
face. I seized a knife, and was running at him, when 
my mother came in and took me by the arm. I expected 
a flogging, and struggling from her 1 ran away to a hill 
at the bottom of which the Otter flows, about one mile 
from Ottery. There I stayed ; my rage died away, but 
my obstinacy vanquished my fears, and taking out a 
little shilling book which had, at the end, morning and 
evening prayers, I very devoutly repeated them — think- 
ing at the same time with inward and gloomy satisfaction 
how miserable my mother must be ! I distinctly remem- 
ber my feelings when I saw a Mr. Vaughan pass over the 
bridge, at about a furlong's distance, and how I watched 
the calves in the fields ^ beyond the river. It grew dark 
and I fell asleep. It was towards the latter end of Oc- 
tober, and it proved a dreadful stormy night. I felt the 
cold in my sleep, and dreamt that I was pulling the blan- 
ket over me, and actually pulled over me a dry thorn bush 
which lay on the hill. In my sleep I had rolled from the 
top of the hill to within three yards of the river, which 
flowed by the unfenced edge at the bottom. I awoke 
several times, and finding myself wet and stiff and cold, 
closed my eyes again that I might forget it. 

In the mean time my mother waited about half an hour 

1 Compare a MS. note dated July calf bellowing. Instantly came on 

19, 1803. " Intensely hot day, left my mind that night I slept out at 

off a waistcoat, and for yarn wore Ottery, and the calf La the field 

silk stockings. Before nine o'clock across the river whose lowing so 

had unpleasant chilhiess, heard a deeply impressed me. Chill and 

noise which I thought Derwent's in child and calf lowino-." 
sleep; listened and found it was a 


expecting my return when tlie sulks liad evaporated. I 
not returning, she sent into the churchyard and round 
the town. Not found ! Several men and all the boys 
were sent to ramble about and seek me. In vain ! My 
mother was almost distracted ; and at ten o'clock at night 
I was cried by the crier in Ottery, and in two villages 
near it, with a reward offered for me. No one went to 
bed ; indeed, I believe half the town were up all the 
night. To return to myself. About five in the morning, 
or a little after, I was broad awake, and attempted to get 
up and walk ; but I could not move. I saw the shepherds 
and workmen at a distance, and cried, but so faintly that 
it was impossible to hear me thirty yards off. And there 
I might have lain and died ; for I was now almost given 
over, the ponds and even the river, near where I was 
lying, having been dragged. But by good luck. Sir 
Stafford Northcote,^ who had been out all night, resolved 
to make one other trial, and came so near that he heard 
me crying. He carried me in his arms for near a quarter 
of a mile, when we met my father and Sir Stafford's 
servants. I remember and never shall forget my father's 
face as he looked upon me while I lay in the servant's 
arms — so calm, and the tears stealing down his face ; for 
I was the child of his old age. My mother, as you may 
suppose, was outrageous with joy. [Meantime] in rushed 
a young lady, crying out, " I hope you '11 whip him, 
Mrs. Coleridge ! " This woman still lives in Ottery ; and 
neither philosophy or religion have been able to conquer 
the antipathy which I feel towards her whenever I see 
her. I was put to bed and recovered in a day or so, but 
I was certainly injured. For I was weakly and subject to 
the ague for many years after. 

^ Sir Stafford, the seventh baro- the list of scholars who were sub- 
net, grandfather of the first Lord scribers to the second edition of the 
Iddesleigh, was at that time a youth Critical Latin Grammar, 
of eighteen. His name occurs among 


My father (who had so little of parental ambition in 
him, that he had destined his children to be blacksmiths, 
etc., and had accomplished his intention but for my mo- 
ther's pride and spirit of aggrandizing her family) — my 
father had, however, resolved that I should be a parson. 
I read every book that came in my way without distinc- 
tion ; and my father was fond of me, and used to take 
me on his knee and hold long conversations with me. I 
remember that at eight years old I walked with him one 
winter evening from a farmer's house, a mile from Ottery, 
and he told me the names of the stars and how Jupiter 
was a thousand times larger than our world, and that the 
other twinkling stars were suns that had worlds rolling 
round them ; and when I came home he shewed me how 
they rolled round. I heard him with a profound delight 
and admiration : but without the least mixture of wonder 
or incredulity. For from my early reading of fairy tales 
and genii, etc., etc., my mind had been habituated to the 
Vast, and I never regarded my senses in any way as the 
criteria of my belief. I regulated all my creeds by my 
conceptions, not by my sight, even at that age. Should 
children be permitted to read romances, and relations of 
giants and magicians and genii? I know all that has 
been said against it ; but I have formed my faith in the 
affirmative. I know no other way of gi^-ing the mind a 
love of the Great and the Whole. Those who have been 
led to the same truths step by step, through the constant 
testimony of their senses, seem to me to want a sense which 
I possess. They contemplate notliing but parts, and all 
parts are necessarily little. And the universe to them is 
but a mass of little things. It is true, that the mind may 
become credulous and prone to superstition by the former 
method ; but are not the experimentalists credulous even 
to madness in believing any absurdity, rather than believe 
the grandest truths, if they have not the testimony of their 
own senses in their favour? I have known some who have 


been rationally educated, as it is styled. They were 
marked by a microscopic acuteness, but when they looked 
at great things, all became a blank and they saw no- 
thing, and denied (very illogically) that anything could 
be seen, and uniformly put the negation of a power for the 
possession of a power, and called the want of imagination 
judgment and the never being moved to rapture philo- 
sophy ! 

Towards the latter end of September, 1781, my father 
went to Plymouth with my brother Francis, who was to go 
as midshipman under Admiral Graves, who was a friend 
of my father's. My father settled my brother, and re- 
turned October 4, 1781. He arrived at Exeter about six 
o'clock, and was pressed to take a bed there at the Harts', 
but he refused, and, to avoid their entreaties, he told them, 
that he had never been superstitious, but that the night 
before he had had a dream which had made a deep im- 
pression. He dreamt that Death had appeared to him as 
he is commonly painted, and touched him with his dart. 
Well, he returned home, and all his family, I excepted, 
were up. He told my mother his dream ; ^ but he was in 
high health and good spirits, and there was a bowl of 
punch made, and my father gave a long and particular 
account of his travel, and that he had placed Frank under 
a religious captain, etc. At length he went to bed, very 
well and in high spirits. A short time after he had lain 
down he complained of a pain in his bowels. My mother 
got him some peppermint water, and, after a pause, he 
said, " I am much better now, my dear ! " and lay down 
again. In a minute my mother heard a noise in his throat, 
and spoke to him, but he did not answer ; and she spoke 
repeatedly in vain. Her shriek awaked me, and I said, 
" Papa is dead ! " I did not know of my father's return, 

1 Compare a MS. note dated March cause of the coincidence of dreams 
5, 1818. " Memory counterfeited with the event — t) fi-f)r7]p efirj." 
by present impressions. One great 


but I knew that lie was expected. How I came to think of 
his death I cannot tell ; but so it was. Dead he was. Some 
said it was the gout in the heart ; — probably it was a fit of 
apoplexy. He was an Israelite without guile, simple, gen- 
erous, and taking some Scripture texts in their literal sense, 
he was conscientiously indifferent to the good and the evil 
of this world. 

God love you and S. T. Coleridge. 


February 19, 1798. 

From October, 1781, to October, 1782. 

After the death of my father, we of course changed 
houses, and I remained with my mother till the spring 
of 1782, and was a day-scholar to Parson Warren, my 
father's successor. He was not very deep, I believe ; and 
I used to delight my mother by relating little instances of 
his deficiency in grammar knowledge, — every detraction 
from his merits seemed an oblation to the memory of my 
father, especially as Parson Warren did certSLmlj piilpit- 
ize much better. Somewhere I think about April, 1782, 
Judge Buller, who had been educated by my father, sent 
for me, having procured a Christ's Hospital Presentation. 
I accordingly went to London, and was received by my 
mother's brother, Mr. Bowdon, a tobacconist and (at the 
same time) clerk to an underwi'iter. My uncle lived at 
the corner of the Stock Exchange and carried on his shop 
by means of a confidential servant, who, I suppose, fleeced 
him most unmercifully. He was a widower and had one 
daughter who lived with a Miss Cabriere, an old maid of 
great sensibilities and a taste for literature. Betsy Bow- 
don had obtained an unlimited influence over her mind, 
which she still retains. Mrs. Holt (for this is her name 
now) was not the kindest of daughters — but, indeed, my 
poor uncle would have wearied the patience and affection 
of an Euphrasia. He received me with great affection, 


and I stayed ten weeks at his house, during which time I 
went occasionally to Judge Buller's. My uncle was very 
proud of me, and used to carry me from cotfee-house to 
coffee-house and tavern to tavern, where I drank and 
talked and disputed, as if I had been a man. Nothing was 
more connnon than for a large party to exclaim in my 
hearing that I was a jyrodigy^ etc., etc., etc., so that while 
I remained at my uncle's I was most completely spoiled 
and pampered, both mind and body. 

At length the time came, and I donned the hlue coat ^ 
and yellow stockings and was sent down into Hertford, a 
town twenty miles from London, where there are about 
three hundred of the younger Blue-Coat boys. At Hert- 
ford I was very happy, on the whole, for I had plenty to 
eat and drink, and pudding and vegetables almost every 
day. I stayed there six weeks, and then was drafted up 
to the great school at London, where I arrived in Septem- 
ber, 1782, and was placed in the second ward, then called 
Jefferies' Ward, and in the under Grammar School. There 
are twelve wards or dormitories of unequal sizes, beside 
the sick ward, in the great school, and they contained all 
together seven hundred boys, of whom I think nearly one 
third were the sons of clergymen. There are five schools, 
— a mathematical, a grammar, a drawing, a reading and 
a wi'iting school, — all very large buildings. When a boy 
is admitted, if he reads very badly, he is either sent to 
Hertford or the reading school. (N. B. Boys are admis- 
sible from seven to twelve years old.) If he learns to read 
tolerably well before nine, he is drafted into the Lower 
Grammar School ; if not, into the Writing School, as hav- 
ing given proof of unfitness for classical attainments. If 
before he is eleven he climbs up to the first form of the 
Lower Grammar School, he is drafted into the head 
Grammar School ; if not, at eleven years old, he is sent 

1 The date of admission to Hert- later, September 12, he was sent up 
ford was July 18, 1782. Eight weeks to London to the great school. 


into the Writing School, where he continues till fourteen 
or fifteen, and is then either apprenticed and articled as 
clerk, or whatever else his turn of mind or of fortune shall 
have provided for him. Two or three times a year the 
Mathematical Master beats up for recruits for the King's 
boys, as they are called; and all who like the Navy are 
drafted into the Mathematical and Drawing Schools, where 
they continue till sixteen or seventeen, and go out as mid- 
shipmen and schoolmasters in the Navy. The boys, who 
are drafted into the Head Grammar School remain there 
till thirteen, and then, if not chosen for the University, go 
into the Writing School. 

Each dormitory has a nurse, or matron, and there is a 
head matron to superintend all these nurses. The boys 
were, when I was admitted, under excessive subordination 
to each other, according to rank in school ; and every ward 
was governed by four Monitors (appointed by the Steward, 
who was the supreme Governor out of school, — our tem- 
poral lord), and by four MarTcers, who wore silver medals 
and were appointed by the Head Grammar Master, who 
was our supreme spiritual lord. The same boys were com- 
monly both monitors and markers. We read in classes on 
Sundays to our Marhers, and were catechized by them, 
and under their sole authority during prayers, etc. All 
other authority was in the monitors ; but, as I said, the 
same boys were ordinarily both the one and the other. 
Our diet was very scanty.^ Every morning, a bit of dry 

1 Compare the autobiographical hunger and fancy." Lamb in his 

note of 1832. " I was in a continual ChrisVs Hospital Five and Thirty 

low fever. My whole being was, Years Ago, and Leigh Hunt in his 

with eyes closed to every object of Autobiography, are in the same tale 

present sense, to crumple myself up as to the insufficient and ill-cooked 

in a sunny corner and read, read, meals of their Bluecoat days. Life 

read; fixing myself on Eobinson of Coleridge, by James Gillman, 

Crusoe's Island, finding a mountain 1838, p. 20 ; Lamb's Prose Works 

of plumb cake, and eating a room 183(5, ii. 27; Autobiography of Leigh 

for myself, and then eating it into Hunt, 1860, p. 60. 
the shapes of tables and chairs — 


bread and some bad small beer. Every evening, a larger 
piece of bread and cheese or butter, whichever we liked. 
For dinner, — on Sunday, boiled beef and broth ; Monday, 
bread and butter, and milk and water ; on Tuesday, roast 
mutton ; Wednesday, bread and butter, and rice milk ; 
Thursday, boiled beef and broth ; Saturday, bread and 
butter, and pease-porritch. Our food was portioned ; and, 
excepting on Wednesdays, I never had a belly full. Our 
appetites were damped^ never satisfied ; and we had no 

S. T. Coleridge. 


February 4, 1785 [London, Christ's Hospital]. 

Dear Mother,^ — I received your letter with pleasure 
on the second instant, and should have had it sooner, but 
that we had not a holiday before last Tuesday, when my 
brother delivered it me. I also with gratitude received 
the two handkerchiefs and the half -a-cr own from Mr. Bad- 
cock, to whom I wotdd be glad if you would give my thanks. 
I shall be more careful of the somme, as I now consider 
that were it not for my kind friends I should be as destitute 
of many little necessaries as some of my schoolfellows are ; 
and Thank God and my relations for them ! My brother 
Luke saw Mr. James Sorrel, who gave my brother a half- 
a-crown from Mrs. Smerdon, but mentioned not a word 
of the plumb cake, and said he would call again. Return 
my most respectful thanks to Mrs. Smerdon for her kind 
favour. My aunt was so kind as to accommodate me with 
a box. I suppose my sister Anna's beauty has many ad- 

^ Coleridge's " letters home " were exception, preserve his letters. It 

almost invariably addressed to his was, indeed, a sorrowful consequence 

brother George. It may be gath- of his " long exile " at Christ's Hos- 

ered from his correspondence that at pital, that he seems to have passed 

rare intervals he wrote to his mother out of his mother's ken, that absence 

as well, but, contrary to her usual led to something like indifference on 

practice, she did not, with this one both sides. 


mirers. My brother Luke says that Burke's Art of Speak- 
ing would be of great use to me. If Master Sam and 
Harry Badcock are not gone out of (Ottery), give my 
kindest love to them. Give my compliments to Mr. Blake 
and Miss Atkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Smerdon, Mr. and Mrs. 
Clapp, and all other friends in the country. My uncle, 
aunt, and cousins join with myself and Brother in love to 
my sisters, and hope they are well, as I, your dutiful son, 

S. Coleridge, am at present. 

P. S. Give my kind love to Molly. 


Undated, from Christ's Hospital, before 1790. 

Dear Brother, — You will excuse me for reminding 
you that, as our holidays commence next week, and I 
shall go out a good deal, a good pair of breeches will be no 
inconsiderable accession to my appearance. For though 
my present pair are excellent for the purposes of draw- 
ing mathematical figures on them, and though a walking 
thought, sonnet, or ej)igTam woidd appear on them in 
very splendid type, yet they are not altogether so well 
adapted for a female eye — not to mention that I shoidd 
have the charge of vanity brought against me for wearing 
a looking-glass. I hope you have got rid of your cold — 
and I am your affectionate brother, 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

P. S. Can you let me have them time enough for re- 
adaptation before Whitsunday ? I mean that they may 
be made up for me before that time. 

VIII. to the same. 

October 16, 1791. 

Dear Brother, — Here I am, videlicet, Jesus College. 
I had a tolerable journey, went by a night coach packed 


up with five more, one of whom had a long, broad, red- 
hot face, four feet hj three. I very luckily found Middle- 
ton at Pembroke College, who (after breakfast, etc.) con- 
ducted me to Jesus. Dr. Pearce is in Cornwall and not 
expected to return to Cambridge till the summer, and 
what is still more extraordinary (and, n. b., rather shame- 
ful) neither of the tutors are here. I keep (as the phrase 
is) in an absent member's rooms till one of the aforesaid 
duetto return to appoint me my own. Neither Lectures, 
Chapel, or anything is begun. The College is very thin, 
and Middleton has not the least acquaintance with any 
of Jesus except a very blackguardly fellow whose j^hysiog. 
I did not like. So I sit down to dinner in the Hall in 
silence, excej)t the noise of suction which accompanies my 
eating, and rise up ditto. I then walk to Pembroke and 
sit with my friend Middleton. Pray let me hear from 
you. Le Grice will send a parcel in two or three days. 

Believe me, with sincere affection and gratitude, yours 



January 24, 1792. 

Dear Brother, — Happy am I, that the country air 
and exercise have operated with due effect on your health 
and spirits — and happy, too, that I can inform you, that 
my own corporealities are in a state of better health, than 
I ever recollect them to be. This indeed I owe in great 
measure to the care of Mrs. Evans,^ with whom I spent a 
fortnight at Christmas : the relaxation from study coop- 
erating with the cheerfulness and attention, which I met 

^ Compare the autobiographical to me, and taught me what it was to 

note of 1832 as quoted by Gillman. have a mother. I loved her as such. 

About this time he became acquaint- She had three daughters, and of 

ed with a widow lady, " whose son," course I fell in love with the eldest." 

says he, " I, as upper boy, had pro- Life of Coleridge, p. 28. 
tected, and who therefore looked up 


there, proved very potently medicinal. I have indeed 
experienced from her a tenderness scarcely inferior to the 
solicitude of maternal affection. I wish, my dear brother, 
that some time, when you walk into town, you would call 
at Villiers Street, and take a dinner or dish of tea there. 
Mrs. Evans has repeatedly expressed her wish, and I too 
have made a half promise that you would. I assure you, 
you will find them not only a very amiable, but a very 
sensible family. 

I send a parcel to Le Grice on Friday morning, which 
(;you may depend on it as a certainty^ will contain your 
sermon. I hope you will like it. 

I am sincerely concerned at the state of Mr. Sparrow's 
health. Are his complaints consumptive? Present my 
respects to him and Mrs. Sparrow. 

When the Scholarship falls, I do not know. It must 
he in the course of two or three months. I do not relax 
in my exertions, neither do I find it any impediment to my 
mental acquirements that prudence has obliged me to re- 
linquish the medice pallescere nocti. We are examined 
as Rustats,^ on the Thursday in Easter AVeek. The ex- 
amination for my year is " the last book of Homer and 
Horace's De Arte Poeticar The Master (/. e. Dr. Pearce) 
told me that he would do me a ser^dce by pushing my 
examination as deep as he possibly could. If ever hogs- 
lard is pleasing, it is when our superiors trowel it on. 
Mr. Frend's company ^ is by no means in^-idious. On the 
contrary, Pearce himself is very intimate with him. No ! 

1 Scholarship of Jesus College, alai-m. He was deprived of his Fel- 

Cambridg-e, for sons of clergymen. lowship, April 17, and banished from 

^ At this time Frend was still a tlie University, May 30, 1793. Cole- 
Fellow of Jesus College. Five years ridge's demeanour in the Senate 
had elapsed since he had resigned House on the occasion of Frend's trial 
from conscientious motives the living before the Vice-Chancellor forms the 
of Madingley in Cambridgeshire, but subject of various contradictory an- 
it was not until after the publication eedotes. See Life of Coleridge, 1838, 
of his pamphlet Peace and Union, p. 55; Heminiscences of Cambridge, 
in 1793, that the authorities took Henry Gunning, 1855, i. 272-275. 


Though I am not an Alderman, I have yet prudence 
enough to respect that gluttony of faitU waggishly yclept 

Philanthropy generally keeps pace with health — my 
acquaintance becomes more general. I am intimate with 
an undergraduate of our College, his name Caldwell/ who 
is pursuing the same line of study (nearly) as myself. 
Though a man of fortune, he is prudent ; nor does he lay 
claim to that right, which wealth confers on its possessor, 
of being a fool. Middleton is fourth senior optimate — 
an honourable jalace, but by no means so high as the whole 
University expected, or (I believe) his merits deserved. 
He desires his love to Stevens : ^ to which you will add 

At what time am I to receive my pecuniary assistance ? 
Quarterly or half yearly ? The Hospital issue their money 
half yearly, and we receive the products of our scholar- 
ship at once, a little after Easter. Whatever additional 
supply you and my brother may have thought necessary 
would be therefore more conducive to my comfort, if I 
received it quarterly — as there are a number of little 
things which require us to have some ready money in our 
pockets — particularly if we happen to be unwell. But 
this as well as everything of the pecuniary kind I leave 
entirely ad arhitrium tuum. 

I have written my mother, of whose health I am rejoiced 
to hear. God send that she may long continue to recede 

^ The Rev. George Caldwell was He was at this time Senior- Assistant 
afterwards Fellow and Tutor of Master at Newcome's Academy at 
Jesus College. His name occurs Clapton near Hackney, and a col- 
among the list of subscribers to the league of George Coleridge. The 
original issue of The Friend. Let- school, which belonged to three gen- 
ders of the Lake Poets, 1889, p. 4.52. erations of Newcomes, was of high 

^ " First Grecian of my time was repute as a private academy, and 

LauncelotPepys Stevens [Stephens], commanded the services of clever 

kindest of boys and men, since the young schoolmasters as assistants or 

Co - Grammar Master, and insepa- ushers. Mr. Sparrow, whose name 

rable companion of Dr. T[rollop]e." is mentioned in the letter, was head- 

LamVs Prose Worlcs, 1835, ii. 45. master. 


from old age, while she advances towards it ! Pray write 
me very soon. 

Yours with gratitude and affection, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


February 13, 1792. 

My very Dear, — What word shall I add sufficiently 
expressive of the warmth which 1 feel ? You covet to be 
near my heart. Believe me, that you and my sister have 
the very first row in the front box of my heart's little 
theatre — and — God knows ! you are not croicded. 
There, my dear spectators ! you shall see what you shall 
see — Farce, Comedy, and Tragedy — my laughter, my 
cheerfulness, and my melancholy. A thousand figures 
pass before you, shifting in perpetual succession ; these 
are my joys and my sorrows, my hopes and my fears, my 
good tempers and my peevishness : you will, however, ob- 
serve two that remain unalterably fixed, and these are love 
and gratitude. In short, my dear Mrs. Evans, my whole 
heart shall be laid open like any sheep's heart ; my ^-irtues, 
if I have any, shall not be more exposed to your ^-iew than 
my weaknesses. Indeed, I am of opinion that foibles are 
the cement of affection, and that, however we may admire 
a perfect character, we are seldom inclined to love and 
praise those whom we cannot sometimes blame. Come, 
ladies ! will you take your seats in this play-house ? Fool 
that I am ! Are you not already there ? Believe me, 
you are ! 

I am extremely anxious to be informed concerning your 
health. Have you not felt the kindly influence of this 
more than vernal weather, as well as the good effects of 
your own recommenced regularity ? I would I could trans- 
mit you a little of my superfluous good health ! I am 
indeed at present most wonderfully well, and if I continue 
so, I may soon be mistaken for one of your very children : 

1792] TO MRS. EVANS 27 

at least, in clearness of complexion and rosiness of cheek 
I am no contemptible likeness of them, though that 
ugly arrangement of features with which nature has dis- 
tinguished me will, I fear, long stand in the way of such 
honorable assimilation. You accuse me of evading the 
bet, and imagine that my silence proceeded from a con- 
sciousness of the charge. But you are mistaken. I not 
only read your letter first, but, on my sincerity ! I felt 
no inclination to do otherwise ; and I am confident, that 
if Mary had happened to have stood by me and had seen 
me take up her letter in preference to her mother's^ with 
all that ease and energy which she can so gracefully exert 
upon proper occasions, she would have lifted ujd her beau- 
tiful little leg, and kicked me round the room. Had Anne 
indeed favoured me with a few lines, I confess I should 
have seized hold of them before either of your letters ; 
but then this would have arisen from my love of novelty^ 
and not from any deficiency in filial respect. So much 
for your bet ! 

You can scarcely conceive what uneasiness poor Tom's 
accident has occasioned me ; in everything that relates 
to him I feel solicitude truly fraternal. Be particular 
concerning him in your next. I was going to write him 
an half angry letter for the long intermission of his cor- 
respondence ; but I must change it to a consolatory one. 
You mention not a word of Bessy. Think you I do not 
love her ? 

And so, my dear Mrs. Evans, you are to take your 
Welsh journey in May? Now may the Goddess of 
Health, the rosy-cheeked goddess that blows the breeze 
from the Cambrian mountains, renovate that dear old 
lady, and make her young again ! I always loved that 
old lady's looks. Yet do not flatter yourselves, that you 
shall take this journey tete-a-tete. You will have an un- 
seen companion at your side, one who will attend you in 
your jaunt, who will be present at your arrival ; one whose 


heart will melt with unutterable tenderness at your ma- 
ternal transports, who will climb the Welsh hills with you, 
who will feel himself happy in knowing you to be so. In 
short, as St. Paul says, though absent in body, I shall be 
present in mind. Disappointment ? You must not, you 
shall not be disappointed ; and if a poetical invocation can 
hel]) you to drive oft' that ugly foe to happiness here it is 
for you. 


Hence ! thou fiend of gloomy sway, 
Thou lov'st on withering blast to ride 
O'er fond Illusion's air-built pride. 

Sullen Spirit ! Hence ! Away ! 

Where Avarice lurks in sordid cell, 
Or mad Ambition builds the dream, 
Or Pleasure plots th' unholy scheme 

There with Guilt and Folly dwell ! 

But oh ! when Hope on Wisdom's wing 
Prophetic wliispers pure delight, 
Be distant far thy cank'rous blight, 

Demon of envenom'd sting. 

Then haste thee, Nj-mph of balmy gales ! 
Thy poet's prayer, sweet May ! attend ! 
Oh ! place my parent and my friend 

'Mid her lovely native vales. 

Peace, that lists the woodlark's strains, 
Health, that breathes divinest treasures. 
Laughing Hours, and Social Pleasures 

Wait my friend in Cambria's plains. 

Affection there with mingled ray 
Shall pour at once the raptures high 

1792] TO MKS. EVANS. 29 

Of filial and maternal Joy ; 

Haste thee then, delightful May ! 

And oh ! may Spring's fair flowerets fade, 
May Summer cease her limbs to lave 
In cooling stream, may Autumn grave 

Yellow o'er the corn-cloath'd glade ; 

Ere, from sweet retirement torn, 
She seek again the crowded mart : 
Nor thou, my selfish, selfish heart 

Dare her slow return to mourn ! 

In wliat part of the country is my dear Anne to be ? 
Mary must and stiall be with you. I want to know all 
your summer residences, that I may be on that very spot 
with all of you. It is not improbable that I may steal 
down from Cambridge about the beginning of April just 
to look at you, that when I see you again in autumn I 
may know how many years younger the Welsh air has 
made you. I shall go into Devonshire on the 21st of 
May, unless my good fortune in a particular affair should 
detain me till the 4th of June. 

I lately received the thanks of the College for a decla- 
mation ^ I spoke in public ; indeed, I meet with the most 
pointed marks of respect, which, as I neither flatter nor 
fiddle, I suppose to be sincere. I write these things not 
from vanity, but because I know they will please you. 

I intend to leave off suppers, and two or three other 
little unnecessaries, and in conjunction with Caldwell hire 
a garden for the summer. It will be nice exercise — your 
advice. La ! it will be so charming to walk out in one's 
own yarding^ and sit and drink tea in an arbour, and 

^ A Latin essay on Posthumous served at Jesus College, Cambridge. 

Fame, described as a declamation Some extracts were printed in the 

and stated to have been composed by College magazine, The Chanticleer, 

S. T. Coleridge, March, 1792, is pre- Lent Term, 1886. 


pick pretty nosegays. To plant and transplant, and be 
dirty and amused ! Then to look with contempt on your 
Londoners with your mock gardens and your smoky 
windows, making a beggarly show of withered flowers 
stuck in pint pots, and quart pots, menacing the heads of 
the passengers below. 

Now suppose I conclude something in the manner with 
which Mary concludes all her letters to me, " Believe 
me your sincere friend,^^ and dutifid humble servant to 
coimnand ! 

Now I do hate that way of concluding a letter. 'T is 
as dry as a stick, as stiff as a poker, and as cold as a 
cucumber. It is not half so good as my old 
God bless you 
Your affectionately grateful 



February 13, 11 o'clock. 

Ten of the most talkative young ladies note hi London ! 

Now by the most accurate calculation of the specific 
quantities of sounds, a female tongnie, wlien it exerts itself 
to the utmost^ equals the noise of eighteen sign-posts, 
which the wind swings backwards and forwards in fidl 
creak. If then one equals eighteen, ten must equal one 
hundred and eighty ; consequently, the circle at Jermyn 
Street unitedly must have produced a noise equal to 
that of one hundred and eighty old crazy sign - posts, 
inharmoniously agitated as aforesaid. Well ! to be sure, 
there are few disagreeables for which the pleasure of 
Mary and Anne Evans' company would not amply com- 
pensate ; but faith ! I feel myself half inclined to thank 
God that I was fifty-two miles off during this clattering 
clapperation of tongues. Do you keep ale at Jermyn 
Street ? If so, I hope it is not soured. 

1792] TO MARY EVANS 31 

Such, my dear Mary, were the reflections that instantly 
suggested themselves to me on reading the former part 
of your letter. Believe me, however, that my gratitude 
keeps pace with my sense of your exertions, as I can most 
feelingly conceive the difficulty of writing amid that 
second edition of Babel with additions. That your health 
is restored gives me sincere delight. May the giver of 
all pleasure and pain preserve it so ! I am likewise glad 
to hear that your hand is re-whiten'd, though I cannot 
help smiling at a certain young lady's effrontery in having 
boxed a young gentleman's ears till her own hand became 
hlach and hlue, and attributing those unseemly marks to 
the poor unfortunate object of her resentment. You are 
at liberty, certainly, to say lohat you please. 

It has been confidently affirmed by most excellent 
judges (tho' the best may be mistaken) that I have grown 
very handsome lately. Pray that I may have grace not 
to be vain. Yet, ah ! who can read the stories of Pamela, 
or Joseph Andrews, or Susannah and the three Elders, 
and not perceive what a dangerous snare beauty is ? 
Beauty is like the grass, that groweth up in the morning 
and is withered before night. Mary ! Anne ! Do not be 
vain of your beauty ! ! ! ! ! 

I keep a cat. Amid the strange collection of strange 
animals with which I am surrounded, I think it necessary 
to have some meek well-looking being, that I may keep 
my social affections alive. Puss, like her master, is a 
very gentle brute, and I behave to her with all possible 
politeness. Indeed, a cat is a very worthy animal. To 
be sure, I have known some very malicious cats in my 
lifetune, but then they were old — and besides, they had 
not nearly so many legs as you, my sweet Pussy. I wish, 
Puss ! I could break you of that indecorous habit of 
turning your back front to the fire. It is not frosty 
weather now. 

N. B. — If ever, Mary, you should feel yourself inclined 


to visit me at Cambridge, pray do not suffer tlie consid- 
eration of my having a cat to deter you. Indeed, I will 
keep her chained np all the while you stay. 

I was in company the other day with a very dashing 
literary lady. After my departure, a friend of mine 
asked her her opinion of me. She answered: " The best 
I can say of him is, that he is a very gentle bear." What 
think you of this character ? 

What a lovely anticipation of spring the last three or 
four days have afforded ! Nature has not been very profuse 
of her ornaments to the country about Cambridge ; yet 
the clear rivulet that runs through the grove adjacent to 
our College, and the numberless little birds (particularly 
robins) that are singing away, and above all, the little 
lambs, each by the side of its mother, recall the most 
pleasing ideas of pastoral simplicity, and almost soothe 
one's soul into congenial innocence. Amid these delight- 
ful scenes, of which the uncommon flow of health I at 
present possess permits me the full enjoyment, I should 
not deign to think of London, were it not for a httle 
family, whom I trust I need not name. What bird of 
the air whispers me that you too will soon enjoy the same 
and more delightful pleasures in a much more delightful 
country? What we strongly wish we are very apt to 
believe. At present, my presentiments on that head 
amount to confidence. 

Last Sunday, Middleton and I set off at one o'clock on 
a ramble. We sauntered on, chatting and contemplating, 
till to our great surprise we came to a village seven miles 
from Cambridge. And here at a farmhouse we drank 
tea. The rusticity of the habitation and the inhabitants 
was charming ; we had cream to our tea, which though 
not brought in a lordhj dish, Sisera would have jumped at. 
Being here informed that we could return to Cambridge 
another way, over a common, for the sake of diversifying 
our walk, we chose this road, " if road it might be called, 

1792] TO MARY EYANS 33 

where road was none," though we were not unapprized of 
its difficulties. The fine weather deceived us. We forgot 
that it was a summer day in warmth only, and not in 
length ; but we were soon reminded of it. For on the 
patliless solitude of this common, the night overtook us — 
we must have been four miles distant from Cambridge — 
the night, though calm, was as dark as the place was 
dreary : here steering our course by our imperfect con- 
ceptions of the point in which we conjectured Cambridge 
to lie, we wandered on "with cautious steps and slow." 
We feared the bog, the stump, and the fen : we feared 
the ghosts of the night — at least, those material and 
knock-me-down ghosts, the apprehension of which causes 
you, Mary (valorous girl that you are !), always to peep 
under your bed of a night. As we were thus creeping 
forward like the two children in the wood, we spy'd 
something white moving across the common. This we 
made up to, though contrary to our sujyposed destination. 
It proved to be a man with a white bundle. We enquired 
our way, and luckily he was going to Cambridge. He 
informed us that we had gone half a mile out of our way, 
and that in five minutes more we must have arrived at a 
deep quagmire grassed over. What an escape I The man 
was as glad of our company as we of his — for, it seemed, 
the poor fellow was afraid of Jack o' Lanthorns — the 
superstition of this county attributing a kind of fascina- 
tion to those wandering vapours, so that whoever fixes his 
eyes on them is forced by some irresistible impulse to 
follow them. He entertained us with many a dreadful 
tale. By nine o'clock we arrived at Cambridge, betired 
and bemudded. I never recollect to have been so much 

Do you spell the word scarsely f When Momus, the 
fault-finding God, endeavoured to discover some imper- 
fection in Venus, he could only censure the creaking of 
her slipper. I, too, Momuslike, can only fall foul on a 


single s. Yet will not my dear Mary be angry with me, 
or think the remark trivial, when she considers that half 
a grain is of consequence in the weight of a diamond. 

I had entertained hopes that you would really have 
se9it me a piece of sticking plaister, which would have 
been very convenient at that time, I having cut my finger. 
I had to buy sticking plaister, etc. What is the use of a 
man's knowing you girls, if he cannot chouse you out of 
such little things as that ? Do not your fingers, Mary, 
feel an odd kind of titillation to be about my ears for my 
impudence ? 

On Saturday night, as I was sitting by myself all alone, 
I heard a creaking sound, something like the noise which 
a crazy chair would make, if pressed by the tremendous 
weight of Mr. Barlow's extremities. I cast my eyes 
around, and what should I behold but a Ghost rising out 
of the floor ! A deadly paleness instantly overspread my 
body, which retained no other symptom of life hut its 
violent trembling. My hair (as is usual in frights of this 
nature) stood upright by many degrees stiff er than the 

oaks of the mountains, yea, stiffer than Mr. ; yet 

was it rendered oily-pliant by the profuse perspiration 
that burst from every pore. This spirit advanced with a 
book in his hand, and having first dissipated my terrors, 
said as follows : " I am the Ghost of Grai/. There fives 
a young lady " (then he mentioned i/our name), "• of whose 
judgment I entertain so high an opinion, that her appro- 
bation of my works would make the turf lie lighter on 
me ; present her with this book, and transmit it to her as 
soon as possible, adding my love to her. And, as for you, 
O young man ! " (now he addressed himself to me) " vn^ite 
no more verses. In the first place your poetry is vile 
stuff ; and secondly " (here lie sighed almost to bursting), 
" all poets go to — 11 ; we are so intolerably addicted to the 
vice of lying ! " He vanished, and convinced me of the 
truth of his last dismal account by the sulphurous stink 
which he left behind him. 

1792] TO MARY EVANS 35 

His first mandate I have obeyed, and, I hope you will 
receive safe your ghostly admirer's present. But so far 
have I been from obeying his second injunction, that I 
never had the scribble-mania stronger on me than for these 
last three or four days : nay, not content with suffering it 
myself, I must pester those I love best with the blessed 
effects of my disorder. 

Besides two things, which you will find in the next 
sheet, I cannot forbear filling the remainder of this 
sheet with an Odeling, though I know and approve your 
aversion to mere pi^ettlness, and though my tiny love 
ode possesses no other property in the world. Let then 
its shortness recommend it to your perusal — hy the hy, 
the only thing in which it resembles you, for wit, sense, 
elegance, or beauty it has none. 


As late in wreaths gay flowers I bound, 
Beneath some roses Love I found, 
And by his little frolic pinion 
As quick as thought I seiz'd the minion, 
Then in my cup the prisoner threw. 
And drank him in its sparkling dew : 
And sure I feel my angry guest 
Flutt'ring his wings within my breast ! 

Are you quite asleep, dear Mary ? Sleep on ; but when 
you awake, read the following productions, and then, I '11 
be bound, you will sleep again sounder than ever. 


Lo ! through the dusky silence of the groves, 
Thro' vales irriguous, and thro' green retreats, 
With languid murmur creeps the placid stream 
And works its secret way. 
1 Poetical Works, p. 19. 2 j^j^/, p, jg. 


Awhile meand'ring round its native fields, 
It rolls the playful wave and winds its flight : 
Then downward flowing with awaken' d speed 
Embosoms in the Deep ! 

Thus thro' its silent tenor may my Life 

Smooth its meek stream by sordid wealth unclogg'd, 

Alike unconscious of forensic stonns, 

And Glory's blood-stain'd palm ! 

And when dark Age shall close Life's little day, 
Satiate of sport, and weary of its toils, 
E'en thus may slumb'rous Death my decent Hmbs 
Compose with icy hand ! 



The dubious light sad glimmers o'er the sky : 
'T is silence all. By lonely anguish torn, 
With wandering feet to gloomy groves I fly. 
And wakeful Love still tracks my course forlorn. 

And will you, cruel Julia ? will you go ? i 

And trust you to the Ocean's dark dismay ? 
Shall the wide, wat'ry world bet^veen us flow ? 
And winds unpitying snatch my Hopes away ? 

Thus could you sport with my too easy heart ? 
Yet tremble, lest not unaveng'd I grieve ! 
The winds may learn your own delusive art. 
And faithless Ocean smile — but to deceive ! 

I have wintten too long a letter. Give me a Mnt, and 
I will avoid a repetition of the offence. 

It 's a compensation for the above - wi'itten rhymes 

1 Poetical WorJcs, p. 20. 

1792] TO ANNE EVANS 37 

(which if you ever condescend to read a second time, pray 
let it be by the light of their own flames) in my next let- 
ter I will send some delicious poetry lately published by 
the exquisite Bowles. 

To-morrow morning I fill the rest of this sheet with a 
letter to Anne. And now, good-night, dear sister ! and 
peaceful slumbers await us both ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 


FeLruary 19, 1792. 
Dear Anne, — To be sure I felt myself rather disap- 
pointed at my not receiving a few lines from you ; but I 
am nevertheless greatly rejoiced at your amicable dispo- 
sitions towards me. Please to accept two kisses, as the 
seals of reconciliation — you will find them on the word 
" Anne " at the beginning of the letter — at least, there I 
left them. I must, however, give you warning, that the 
next time you are affronted with Brother Coly, and show 
your resentment by that most cruel of all punishments, 
silence, I shall address a letter to you as long and as sor- 
rowful as Jeremiah's Lamentations, and somewhat in the 
style of your sister's favourite lover, beginning with, — 

to the irascible miss. 

Dear Miss, &c. 

My dear Anne, you are my Valentine. I dreamt of 
you this morning, and I have seen no female in the whole 
course of the day, except an old bedmaker belonging to 
the College, and I don't count her one, as the bristle of 
her beard makes me suspect her to be of the masculine 
gender. Some one of the genii must have conveyed your 
image to me so opportunely, nor will you think this im- 
possible, if you will read the little voliunes which contain 
their exploits, and crave the honour of your acceptance. 


If I could draw, I would have sent a pretty heart stuck 
through with arrows, with some such sweet posy under- 
neath it as this : — 

" The rose is red, the violet blue ; 
The pink is sweet, and so are you." 

But as the Gods have not made me a drawer (of anything 
but corks), you must accept the will for the deed. 

You never wrote or desired yoiir sister to write concern- 
ing the bodily health of the Barlowites, though you know 
my affection for that family. Do not forget this in your 

Is Mr. Caleb Barlow recovered of the rheumatism ? 
The quiet ugliness of Cambridge supplies me with very 
few communicables in the news way. The most important 
is, that Mr. Tim Grubskin, of this town, citizen, is dead. 
Poor man ! he loved fish too well. A %T.olent commotion 
in his bowels carried him off. They say he made a very 
good end. There is his epitaph : — 

" A loving friend and tender parent dear, 
Just in all actions, and he the Lord did fear, 
Hoping, that, when the day of Resurrection come, 

He shall arise in glory like the Sun."' 

It was composed by a Mr. Thistlewait, the town crier, 
and is much admired. We are all mortal ! ! 

His wife carries on the business. It is whispered about 
the town that a match between her and ^Ir. Coe, the shoe- 
maker, is not improbable. He certainly seems very assid- 
uous in conso/uig her, but as to anything matrimonial I 
do not write it as a well authenticated fact. 

I went the other evening to the concert, and spent the 
time there much to my heart's content in cursing Mr. 
Hague, who played on the violin most piggisldy, and a 
Miss (I forget her name) — Miss Humstnim, who sung 
most sowishly. O the Billington ! That I should be ab- 
sent during the oratorios ! The prince unable to conceal 
his pain ! Oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! 

1792] TO MRS. EVANS 39 

To which house is Mrs. B. engaged this season ? 

The mutton and winter cabbage are confoundedly tough 
here, though very venerable for their old age. Were you 
ever at Cambridge, Anne ? The river Cam is a handsome 
stream of a muddy complexion, somewhat like Miss Yates, 
to whom you will present my love (if you like). 

In Cambridge there are sixteen colleges, that look like 
workhouses, and fourteen churches that look like little 
houses. The town is very fertile in alleys, and mud, and 
cats, and dogs, besides men, women, ravens, clergy, joroc- 
tors, tutors, owls, and other two-legged cattle. It like- 
wise — but here I must interrupt my description to hurry 
to Mr. Costobadie's lectures on Euclid, who is as mathe- 
matical an author, my dear Anne, as you would wish to 
read on a long summer's day. Addio ! God bless you, 
ma chere soeur, and your affectionate frere, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. I add a postscript on purpose to communicate a 
joke to you. A party of us had been drinking wine to- 
gether, and three or four freshmen were most deplorably 
intoxicated. (I have too great a respect for delicacy to 
say drunk.) As we were returning homewards, two of 
them fell into the gutter (or kennel). We ran to assist 
one of them, who very generously stuttered out, as he lay 
sprawling in the mud : " N-n-n-no — n-n-no ! — save my 
f-fr-fr-friend there ; n-never mind me, I can swim." 

Won't you write me a long letter now, Anne ? 

P. S. Give my respectful compliments to Betty, and 
say that I enquired after her health with the most em- 
phatic energy of impassioned avidity. 


February 22 [? 1792]. 

Dear Madam, — The incongruity of the dates in these 
letters you will immediately perceive. The truth is that 


I had written tlie foregoing heap of nothingness six or 
seven days ago, but I was prevented from sending it by a 
variety of disagreeable little impediments. 

Mr. Massy must be arrived in Cambridge by this time ; 
but to call on an utter stranger just arrived with so trivial 
a message as yours and his uncle's love to him, when I 
myself had bc^en in Cambridge five or six weeks, would 
appear rather awkward, not to say ludicrous. If, however, 
I meet him at any wine party (which is by no means im- 
probable) I shall take the opportunity of mentioning it 
en passant. As to Mr. M.'s debts, the most intimate 
friends in college are perfect strangers to each other's 
affairs ; consequently it is little likely that I should pro- 
cure any information of this kind. 

I hope and trust that neither yourself nor my sisters have 
experienced any ill effects from this wonderfid change of 
weather. A very slight cold is the only favour with which 
it has honoured me. I feel myself apprehensive for all of 
you, but more particularly for Anne, whose frame I think 
most susceptible of cold. 

Yesterday a Frenchman came dancing into my room, 
of which he made but three steps, and presented me with 
a card. I had scarcely collected, by glancing my eye over 
it, that he was a tooth-monger, before he seized hold of 
my muzzle, and, baring my teeth (as they do a horse's, 
in order to know his age), he exclaimed, as if in violent 
agitation : " Mon Dieu ! Monsieur, all your teeth ^-ill fall 
out in a day or two, unless jow permit me the honour of 
scaling them ! " This ineffable piece of assurance discov- 
ered such a genius for impudence, that I could not suffer 
it to go unrewai'ded. So, after a hearty laugh, I sat 
down, and let the rascal chouse me out of half a guinea by 
scra])ing my gi-inders — the more readily, indeed, as I 
recollected the great penchant which all your family have 
for delicate teeth. 

1792] TO MAEY EVANS 41 

So (I hear) Allen ^ will be most precipitately emanci- 
pated. Good luck have thou of thy emancipation, Bob- 
bee ! Tell him from me that if he does not kick Richards' ^ 
fame out of doors by the superiority of his own, I will 
never forgive him. 

If you will send me a box of Mr. Stringer's tooth 
powder, mamma ! we will accept of it. 

And now, Eight Eeverend Mother in God, let me claim 
your permission to subscribe myself with all observance 
and gratitude, your most obedient hmnble servant, and 
lowly slave, 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 

Reverend in the future tense, and scholar of Jesus Col- 
lege in the present time. 

Jesus College, Cambridge, February 22 [1792]. 
Dear Mary, — Writing long letters is not the fault 
into which I am most apt to fall, but whenever I do, by 

1 Robert Allen, Coleridge's ear- ii. 47, and Leigh HunVs Autobiogra- 

liest friend, and almost his exact phy, 1860, p. 74. See, also, Letters to 

contemporary (born October 18, AUsop, 1864, p. 170. 

1772), was admitted to University ^ George Richards, a contempo- 

CoUege, Oxford, as an exhibitioner, rary of Stephens, and, though sonae- 

in the spring of 1792. He enter- what senior, of Middleton, was a 

tained Coleridge and his compagnon University prize-man and Fellow of 

de voyage, Joseph Hucks, on the oc- Oriel. He was " author," says Lanab, 

casion of the memorable visit to Ox- "of the 'Aboriginal Britons,' the 

ford in June, 1794, and introduced most spirited of Oxford prize poems." 

them to his friend, Robert Southey In after life he made his mark as 

of Balliol. He is mentioned in let- a clergyman, as Bampton Lecturer 

ters of Lamb to Coleridge, June 10, (in 1800), and as Vicar of St. Martin- 

1796, and October 11, 1802. In both in-the-Fields. He was appointed 

instances his name is connected with Governor of Christ's Hospital in 

that of Stoddart, and it is proba- 1822, and founded an annual prize, 

ble that it was through Allen that the " Richards' Gold Medal," for 

Coleridge and Stoddart became ac- the best copy of Latin hexameters, 

quainted. For anecdotes concerning ChrisVs Hospital. List of JExhibi- 

Allen, see Lamb's Essay, "Christ's iioners,yrom 1566-1885, compiled by 

Hospital," etc., Prose Works, 1836, A. M. Lockhart. 


some inexplicable ill luck, my prolixity is always directed 
to those whom I would yet least of all wish to torment. 
You think, and think rightly, that I had no occasion to 
increase the preceding accumulations of wearisomeness, 
but I wished to inform you that I have sent the poem of 
Bowles, which I mentioned in a former sheet ; though I 
dare say you would have discovered this without my infor- 
mation. If the pleasure which you receive from the peru- 
sal of it prove equal to that which I have received, it will 
make you some small return for the exertions of friend- 
ship, which you must have found necessary in order to 
travel through my long, long, long letter. 

Though it may be a little effrontery to point out beau- 
ties, which would be obvious to a far less sensible heart 
than yours, yet I cannot forbear the self-indulgence of 
remarking to you the exquisite description of Hope in the 
third page and of Fortitude in the sixth ; but the poem 
" On leaving a place of residence " appears to me to be 
ahnost superior to any of Bowles's compositions. 

I hope that the Jermyn Street ledgers are well. How 
can they be otherwise in such lovely keeping ? 

Your Jessamine Pomatum, I trust, is as strong and as 
odorous as ever, and the roasted turkeys at Villiers Street 
honoured, as usual, with a thick crust of yom- Mille (what 
do you call it ?) powder. 

I had a variety of other interesting inquiries to make, 
but time and memory fail me. 

Without a swanskin waistcoat, what is man ? I have got 
a swanskin waistcoat, — a most attractive external. 
Yours with sincerity of friendship, 

Samuel Taylor C. 

xv. to the rev. george coleridge. 

Monday night, April [1792]. 

Dear Brother, — You would have heard from me 
long since had I not been entangled in such various busi- 




nesses as have occupied my whole time. Besides my ordi- 
nary business, which, as I look forward to a smart contest 
some time this year, is not an indolent one, I have been 
writing for all the prizes, namely, the Greek Ode, the 
Latin Ode, and the Epigrams. I have little or no expec- 
tation of success, as a Mr. Smith,i a man of immense sen- 
ius, author of some papers in the " Microcosm," is among 
my nmnerous competitors. The prize medals will be ad- 
judged about the beginning of June. If you can think of 
a good thought for the beginning of the Latin Ode upon 
the miseries of the W. Lidia slaves, communicate. My 
Greek Ode ^ is, I think, my chef d^oeuvre in poetical com- 
position. I have sent you a sermon metamorjDhosed from 
an obscure publication by vamping, transposition, etc. If 
you like it, I can send you two more of the same kidney. 
Our examination as Rustats comes [off] on the Thursday 

^ Robert Percy (Bobus) Smith, 
1770-1845, the younger brother of 
Sydney Smith, was Browne Medalist 
in 1791. His Eton and Cambridge 
prize poems, in Lucretian metre, are 
among the most finished specimens 
of modern Latinity. The principal 
contributors to the Microcosm were 
George Canning, John and Robert 
Smith, Hookham Frere, and Charles 
Ellis. Gentleman' s Magazine^ N. S., 
xxiii. 440. 

^ For complete text of the Greek 
Sapphic Ode, " On the Slave Trade," 
which obtained the Browne gold 
medal for 1792, see Appendix B, p. 
476, to Coleridge's Poetical Works, 
MacmUlan, 1893. See, also, Mr. 
Dykes Campbell's note on the style 
and composition of the ode, p. 653. 
I possess a transcript of the Ode, 
taken, I believe, by Sara Coleridge 
in 1823, on the occasion of her visit 
to Ottery St. Mary. The following 
note is appended : — 

" Upon the receipt of the above 
poem, Mr. George Coleridge, being 
vastly pleased by the composition, 
thinking it would be a sort of com- 
pliment to the superior genius of his 
brother the author, composed the 
f oUowing lines : — 


Say Holy Genius — Heaven - descended 

Why interdicted is the sacred Fire 
That flows spontaneous from thy golden 

Why Genius like the emanative Ray 
That issuing from the dazzling Fount of 

Wakes all creative Nature into Day, 
Art thou not all-diffusive, all benign ? 
Thy partial hand I blame. For Pity oft 
In Supplication's Vest — a weeping child 
That meets me pensive on the barren wild, 
And pours into my soul Compassion soft, 
The never-dying strain commands to flow — 
Man sure is vain, nor sacred Genius hears, 
Now speak in melody — now weep in Tears. 
G. C." 


in Easter week. After it a man of our college has offered 
to take me to town in his gig, and, if he can bring me 
back, I think I shall accept his offer, as the expense, at all 
events, will not be more than 12 shillings, and my very 
commons, and tea, etc., would amount to more than that 
in the week which I intend to stay in town. Almost all 
the men are out of college, and I am most villainously 
vapoured. I wrote the following the other day under the 
title of " A Fragment found in a Lecture-Room : " — 

Where deep in mud Cam rolls his slumbrous stream, 
And bog and desolation reign supreme ; 
Where all Boeotia clouds the misty brain, 
The owl Mathesis j^ipes her loathsome strain. 
Far, far aloof the frighted Muses fly, 
Indignant Genius scowls and passes by : 
The frolic Pleasures start amid their dance, 
And Wit congealed stands fix'd in wintry trance. 
But to the sounds with duteous haste repair 
Cold Industry, and wary-footed Care ; 
And Dulness, dosing on a couch of lead, 
Pleas'd with the song uplifts her heavy head, 
The sympathetic numbers lists awhile, 
Then yawns propitiously a frosty smile. . . . 
[Ccetera desunt.] 

This morning I went for the first time with a party on 
the river. The clumsy dog to whom we had entrusted the 
sail was fool enough to fasten it. A gust of wind em- 
braced the opportunity of turning over the boat, and bap- 
tizing all that were in it. We swam to shore, and walked 
dripping home, like so many river gods. Thank God ! 
I do not feel as if I should be the worse for it. 

I was matricidated on Saturday.^ Oath-taking is very 
healthy in spring, I should suppose. I am grown very 
fat. We have two men at our college, great cronies, 

^ He was matriculated aa pen- been in residence since September, 
sioner March 31, 1792. He had 1791. 

1793] TO MRS. EVANS 45 

their names Head and Bones ; the first an unlicked cub of 
a Yorkshireman, the second a very fierce buck. I call 
them Raw Head and Bloody Bones. 

As soon as you can make it convenient I should feel 
thankful if you could transmit me ten or five pounds, as I 
am at present cashless. 

Pray, was the bible clerk's place accounted a disrep- 
utable one at Oxford in your time ? Poor Allen, who is 
just settled there, complains of the great distance with 
which the men treat him. 'T is a childish University ! 
Thank God ! I am at Cambridge. Pray let me hear from 
you soon, and whether your health has held out this long 
campaign. I hope, however, soon to see you, till when 
believe me, with gratitude and affection, yours ever, 



February 5, 1793. 

My dear Mrs. Evans, — This is the third day of my 
resurrection from the couch, or rather, the sofa of sick- 
ness. About a fortnight ago, a quantity of matter took 
it into its head to form in my left gum, and was attended 
with such violent pain, inflammation, and swelling, that it 
threw me into a fever. However, God be praised, my 
gum has at last been opened, a villainous tooth extracted, 
and all is well. I am still very weak, as well I may, since 
for seven days together I was incapable of swallowing 
anything but spoon meat, so that in point of spirits I am 
but the dregs of my former self — a decaying flame ago- 
nizing in the snuff of a tallow candle — a kind of hobgob- 
lin, clouted and bagged up in the most contemptible 
shreds, rags, and yellow relics of threadbare mortality. 
The event of our examination ^ was such as surpassed 

^ For the CraTen Scholarship. In portions of which are printed in Gill- 
an article contributed to the Gentle- man's Life of Coleridge, C. V. Le 
man's Magazine of December, 1834, Grice, a co-Grecian with Coleridge 


my expectations, and perfectly accorded with my wishes. 
After a very severe trial of six days' continuance, the 
number of the competitors was reduced from seventeen 
to four, and after a further process of ordeal we, the sur- 
vivors, were declared eqvial each to the other, and the 
Scholarship, according to the will of its founder, awarded 
to the youngest of us, who was found to be a Mr. Butler 
of St. John's College. I am just two months older than 
ho is, and though I would doubtless have rather had it 
myself, 1 am yet not at all sorry at his success ; for he is 
sensible and unassuming, and besides, from his circum- 
stances, such an accession to his annual income must have 
been very acceptable to him. So much for myself. 

I am greatly rejoiced at your brother's recovery; in 
proportion, indeed, to the anxiety and fears I felt on your 
account during his illness. I recollected, my most dear 
Mrs. Evans, that you are frequently troubled with a 
strange forgetfulness of yourself, and too aj)t to go far 
beyond your strength, if by any means you may alle- 
viate the sufferings of others. Ah I how different from 
the majority of others whom we courteously dignify with 
the name of Inmian — a ^ale herd, who sit still in the 
severest distresses of their friends, and cry out, There 
is a lion in the way! animals, who walk with leaden 
sandals in the paths of charity, yet to gTatify their own 
inclinations will run a mile in a breath. Oh ! I do know 
a set of little, dirty, pimping, petty-fogging, ambidextrous 
fellows, who would set yoiu- house on fire, though it were 
but to roast an o^ii; for themselves ! Yet surely, consider- 
ing it were a selfish view, the pleasures that arise from 
w]iisi)cring peace to those who are in trouble, and healing 
tlie Inokcn in heart, are far superior to all the unfeeling 
can enjoy. 

and Allen, gives the names of the wards Head Master of Shrewshury 
four competitors. The successful and Bishop of Lichfield. Life of 
candidate was Samuel Butler, after- Coleridge, 1838, p. 50. 

1793] TO MARY EVANS 47 

I have inclosed a little work of that great and good man 
Archdeacon Paley ; it is entitled Jf ogives of Contentment^ 
addressed to the poorer part of our fellow men. The 
twelfth page I particularly admire, and the twentieth. The 
reasoning has been of some service to me, who am of the 
race of the Grumbletonians. My dear friend Allen has a 
resource against most misfortunes in the natural gaiety of 
his temper, whereas my hypochondriac, gloomy spirit amid 
blessings too frequently warbles out the hoarse grmitings 
of discontent ! Nor have all the lectures that divines and 
philosophers have given us for these three thousand years 
past, on the vanity of riches, and the cares of greatness, 
etc., prevented me from sincerely regretting that Nature 
had not put it into the head of some rich man to beget 
me for his^rs^-born, whereas now I am likely to get bread 
just when I shall have no teeth left to chew it. Cheer 
up, my little one (thus I answer I) ! hetter late than 
never. Hath literature been thy choice, and hast thou 
food and raiment ? Be thankful, be amazed at thy good 
fortune ! Art thou dissatisfied and desirous of other 
things ? Go, and make twelve votes at an election ; it 
shall do thee more service and procure thee greater pre- 
ferment than to have made twelve commentaries on the 
twelve prophets. My dear Mrs. Evans ! excuse the wan- 
derings of my castle building imagination. I have not a 
thought which I conceal from you. I write to others, but 
my pen talks to you. Convey my softest affections to 
Betty, and believe me, 

Your grateful and affectionate boy, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Jesus College, Cambridge, February 7, 1793. 
I would to Heaven, my dear Miss Evans, that the god of 
wit, or news, or politics would whisper in my ear something 
that might be worth sending fifty-four miles — but alas ! I 


am so closely blocked by an army of misfortunes tbat really 
there is no passage left open for mirth or anything else. 
Now, just to give you a few articles in the large inventory 
of my calamities. Imprimis, a gloomy, uncomfortable 
morning. Item, my head aches. Item, the Dean has set 
me a swinging imposition for missing morning chapel. 
Item, of the two only coats which I am worth in the world, 
both have holes in the elbows. Item, Mr. Newton, our 
mathematical lecturer, has recovered from an illness. But 
the story is rather a laughalde one, so I must tell it you. 
Mr. Newton (a tall, thin man with a little, tiny, blushing 
face) is a great botanist. Last Sunday, as he was stroll- 
ing out with a friend of his, some curious plant suddenly 
caught his eye. He turned round his head with great 
eagerness to call his companion to a participation of dis- 
covery, and unfortunately continuing to walk forward he 
fell into a pool, deep, muddy, and full of chickweed. I 
was lucky enough to meet him as he was entering the col- 
lege gates on his return (a sight I would not have lost for 
the Indies), his best black clothes all green with duck- 
weed, he shivering and dripping, in short a perfect river 
god. I went up to him (you must understand we hate 
each other most cordially) and sympathized with him in 
all the tenderness of condolence. The consequence of his 
misadventure was a violent cold attended with fever, which 
confined him to his room, prevented him from gi^ang lec- 
tures, and freed me from the necessity of attending them ; 
but this misfortune I supported with truly Cliristian for- 
titude. However, I constantly asked after his health with 
filial anxiety, and this morning, making my usual inquir- 
ies, I was informed, to my infinite astonishment and vexa- 
tion, that he was perfectly recovered and intended to give 
lectures this very day ! ! ! Verily, I swear that six of his 
duteous pupils — myself as their general — sallied forth 
to the apothecary's house with a fixed determination to 
thrash him for having performed so speedy a cure, but, 

1793] TO MARY EVANS 49 

luckily for himseK, the rascal was not at home. But here 
comes my fiddling master, for (but this is a secret) I am 
learning to play on the violin. Twit, twat, twat, twit ! 
" Pray, M. de la Penche, do you think I shall ever make 
anything of this violin ? Do you think I have an ear for 
music? " " Un magnifique ! Un superbe ! Par honneur, 
sir, you be a ver great genius in de music. Good morn- 
ing, monsieur ! " This M. de la Penche is a better judge 
than I thought for. 

This new whim of mine is partly a scheme of self- 
defence. Three neighbours have run music-mad lately — 
two of them fiddle-scrapers, the third a flute-tooter — and 
are perpetually annoying me with their vile performances, 
compared with which the gruntings of a whole herd of 
sows would be seraphic melody. Now I hope, by fre- 
quently playing myself, to render my ear callous. Be- 
sides, the evils of life are crowding upon me, and music 
is "the sweetest assuager of cares." It helps to relieve 
and soothe the mind, and is a sort of refuge from calamity, 
from slights and neglects and censures and insults and dis- 
appointments ; from the warmth of real enemies and the 
coldness of pretended friends ; from your well loishers 
(as they are justly called, in opposition, I suppose, to well 
doers) ^ men whose inclinations to serve you always de- 
crease in a most mathematical proportion as their oppor- 
tunities to do it increase ; from the 

" Proud man's contumely, and the spurns 
Wliich patient merit of th' unworthy takes ; " 

from grievances that are the growth of all times and 
places and not peculiar to this age^ which authors call this 
critical age, and divines this sinful age^ and politicians 
this age of revolutions. An acquaintance of mine calls 
it this learned age in due reverence to his own abilities, 
and like Monsieur Whatd'yecallhim, who used to pull off 
his hat when he spoke of himself. The poet laureate calls 
it " this golden age^'' and with good reason, — 


For him the fountains with Canary flow, 
And, best of fruit, spontaneous guineas grow. 

Pope, in his " Dunciad," makes it this leaden age^ but I 
choose to call it without an epithet, this age. Many things 
we must expect to meet with which it would be hard to 
bear, if a compensation were not found in honest en- 
deavours to do well, in virtuous affections and connections, 
and in harmless and reasonable amusements. And why 
should not a man amuse himself sometimes? Vive la 
hagttteUe I 

I received a letter this morning from my friend Allen. 
lie is up to his ears in business, and I sincerely congratu- 
late him upon it — occu2)ation, I am con\dnced, being the 
great secret of happiness. " Nothing makes the temper 
so fretful as indolence," said a young lady who, beneath 
the soft surface of feminine delicacy, possesses a mind acute 
by nature, and strengthened by habits of reflection. 'Pon 
my word. Miss Evans, I beg your pardon a thousand times 
for bepraising you to your face, but, really, I have written 
so long that I had forgot to whom I was writing. 

Have you read Mr. Fox's letter to the AYestminster 
electors ? It is quite the political go at Cambridge, and 
has converted many souls to the Foxite faith. 

Have you seen the Siddons this season ? or the Jordan ? 
An acquaintance of mine has a tragedy coming out early 
in the next season, the principal character of which Mrs. 
Siddons will act. He has importuned me to write the pro- 
logue and ejiilogTie, but, conscious of my inability, I have 
excused myself with a jest, and told him I was too good 
a Christian to be accessory to the damnation of anything. 

There is an old proverb of a river of words and a spoon- 
ful of sense, and I think this letter has been a pretty good 
proof of it. But as nonsense is better than blank paper, 
I will fill this side with a song I wrote lately. My friend, 
Charles Hague ^ the composer, will set it to wild music. 

1 Musical glee composer, 1769-1821. Biographical Dictionary. 

1793] TO MARY EVANS 51 

I shall sing it, and accompany myself on the violin. Ca 
ira 1 

Cathloma, who reigned in the Highlands of Scotland 
about two hundred years after the birth of our Saviour, 
was defeated and killed in a war with a neighbouring 
prince, and Nina Thoma his daughter (according to the 
custom of those times and that country) was imprisoned 
in a cave by the seaside. This is supposed to be her com- 
plaint : — 

How long will ye round me be swelHng, 
O ye blue-tumbling waves of the sea ? 

Not always in caves was my dwelling, 
Nor beneath, the cold blast of the Tree ; 

Thro' the high sounding Hall of Cathloma 

In the steps of my beauty I strayed, 
The warriors beheld Nina Thoma, 

And they blessed the dark-tressed Maid ! 

By my Friends, by my Lovers discarded. 
Like the Flower of the Rock now I waste, 

That lifts its fair head unregarded, 
And scatters its leaves on the blast. 

A Ghost ! by my cavern it darted ! 

In moonbeams the spirit was drest — 
For lovely appear the Departed, 

When they visit the dreams of my rest ! 

But dispersed by the tempest's commotion. 
Fleet the shadowy forms of Delight ; 

Ah ! cease, thou shrill blast of the Ocean ! 
To howl thro' my Cavern by night. ^ 

Are you asleep, my dear Mary? I have administered 
rather a strong dose of opium ; however, if in the course 

1 Poetical Wm-ks, p. 20. 


of your nap you should chance to dream that I am, with 
ardor of eternal friendship, your affectionate 

you will never have dreamt a truer dream in all your days. 

Jesub College, Cambridge, February 10, 1*793. 

My DEAR Anne, — A little before I had received your 
maninia's letter, a bird of the air had informed me of 
your illness — and sure never did owl or night-raven 
C' those mournful messengers of heavy things ") pipe a 
more loathsome song. But I flatter myself that ere you 
have received this scrawl of mine, by care and attention 
you will have lured back the rosy-lipped fugitive. Health. 
I know of no misfortune so little susceptible of consolation 
as sickness : it is indeed easy to offer comfort, when we 
ourselves are well ; theji we can be full of grave saws 
upon the duty of resignation, etc. ; but alas ! when the 
sore visitations of pain come home^ all our philosophy 
vanishes, and nothing remains to be seen. I speak of 
myself, but a mere sensitive animal, with little wisdom 
and no patience* Yet if an}i:hing can throw a melancholy 
smile over the pale, wan face of illness, it must be the 
sight and attentions of those we love. There are one or 
two beings, in this planet of ours, whom God has formed 
in so kindly a mould that I coidd almost consent to be ill 
in order to be nursed by them. 

O turtle-eyed affection ! 
If thou be present — who can be distrest ? 
Pain seems to smile, and sorrow is at rest : 
No more the thoughts in wild repinings roll, 
And tender murmurs hush the soften'd soul. 

Bat I will not proceed at this rate, for I am writing 
and thinking myself fast into the spleen, and feel very 
obligingly disposed to communicate the same doleful fit 
to you, my dear sister. Yet permit me to say, it is ahnost 


your own fault. You were half angry at my writing 
laughing nonsense to you, and see what you have got in 
exchange — pale-faced, solemn, stiff -starched stupidity. I 
must confess, indeed, that the latter is rather more in 
unison with my present feelings, which from one untoward 
freak of fortune or other are not of the most comfortable 
kind. Within this last month I have lost a brother ^ and 
a friend ! But I struggle for cheerfulness — and some- 
times, when the sim shines out, I succeed in the effort. 
This at least I endeavour, not to infect the cheerfulness 
of others, and not to write my vexations upon my fore- 
head. I read a story lately of an old Greek philosopher, 
who once harangued so movingly on the miseries of life, 
that his audience went home and hanged themselves ; but 
he himself (my author adds) lived many years afterwards 
in very sleek condition. 

God love you, my dear Anne ! and receive as from a 
brother the warmest affections of your 



Wednesday morning, July 28, 1*793. 

Mt DEAR Brother, — I left Salisbury on Tuesday 
morning — should have stayed there longer, but that Ned, 
ignorant of my coming, had preengaged himself on a 
journey to Portsmouth with Skinner. I left Ned well and 
merry, as likewise his wife, who, by all the Cupids, is a 
very worthy old lady.^ 

Monday afternoon, Ned, Tatum, and myself sat from 
four till ten drinking ! and then arose as cool as three 
undressed cucumbers. Edward and I (O ! the wonders 

^ Francis Syndercombe Coleridge, Salisbury. His marriage with an 

who died shortly after the fall of elderly widow who was supposed to 

Seringapatam, February 6, 1Y92. have a large income was a source of 

^ Edward Coleridge, the Vicar of perennial amusement to his family. 
Ottery's fourth son, was then assist- Some years after her death he mar- 
ant master in Dr. Skinner's school at ried his first cousin, Anne Bowdon. 


of this life) disputed with great coolness and forbearance 
the whole time. We neither of us were convinced, 
though now and then Ned was convicted. Tatum umpire 

And by decision more embroiled the fray. 

I found all well in Exeter, to which place I proceeded 
directly, as my mother might have been unprepared from 
the supposition I meant to stay longer in Salisbury. I 
shall dine with James to-day at brother Phillips'.^ 

My ideas are so discomposed by the jolting of the 
coach that I can write no more at present. 

A piece of gallantry ! 

I presented a moss rose to a lady. Dick Hart^ asked 
her if she was not afraid to put it in her bosom, as per- 
haps there might be love in it. I immediately wrote the- 
following little ode or song or what you please to call it.^ 
It is of the namby-pamby genus. 


As late each flower that sweetest blows 
I plucked, the Garden's pride ! 
Within the petals of a Rose 
A sleeping Love I spied. 

Around his brows a beaming wreath 
Of many a lucent hue ; 
All purple glowed his cheek beneath, 
Inebriate with dew. 

^ The husband of Coleridg-e's half ^ A note to the Poems of Samuel 

sister Elizabeth, the young-est of the Taylor Coleridge, Moxon, 1852, gives 

vicar's first family, " who alone was a somewhat diiferent version of the 

bred np with us after my birth, and origin of this poem, first printed in 

who alone of the three I was wont to the edition of 1796 as Effusion 27, 

think of as a sister." See Autobio- and of the lines included in Letter 

graphical Notes of 1832. Life of XX., there headed " Cupid turned 

Coleridge, 1838, p. 9. Chymist," but afterwaxds known as 

' The brother of Mrs. Luke and "Kisses." 
of Mrs. George Coleridge. 


I softly seized the unguarded Power, 
Nor scared liis balmy rest ; 
And placed him, caged within the flower, 
On Angelina's breast. 

But when unweeting of the guile 
Awoke the prisoner sweet. 
He struggled to escape awhile 
And stamped his faery feet. 

Ah ! soon the soul-entrancing sight 
Subdued the impatient boy ! 
He gazed ! he thrilled with deep delight ! 
Then clapped his wings for joy. 

'' And ! " he cried, " of magic kind 
What charms this Throne endear ! 
Some other Love let Venus find — 
I '11 fix my empire here." 

An extempore ! Ned during tlie dispute, thinking he 
had got me down, said, " Ah ! Sam ! you hlush ! " " Sir," 
answered I, 

Ten thousand Blushes 
Flutter round me drest like little Loves, 
And veil my visage with their crimson wings. 

There is no meaning in the lines, but we both agreed they 
were very pretty. If you see Mr. Hussy, you will not 
forget to present my respects to him, and to his accom- 
plished daughter, who certes is a very sweet yoimg lady. 
God bless you and your grateful and affectionate 



[Postmark, Augnast 5, 1793.] 

My dear Brother, — Since my arrival in the country 
I have been anxiously expecting a letter from you, nor 
can I divine the reason of your silence. From the letter 


to my brother James, a few lines of which he read to me, 
I am fearful that your silence proceeds from displeasure. 
If so, what is left for me to do but to grieve ? The past 
is not in my power. For the follies of which I may have 
been guilty, I have been greatly disgusted ; and I trust 
the meniovy of them will operate to future consistency of 

My mother is very well, — indeed, better for her illness. 
Her complexion and eye, the truest indications of health, 
are much clearer. Little William and his mother are 
weU. My brother James is at Sidmouth. I was there 
yesterday. He, his wife, and children are well. Freder- 
ick is a charming child. Little James had a most provi- 
dential escape the day before yesterday. As my brother 
was in the field contiguous to his place he heard two men 
scream, and turning round saw a horse leap over little 
James, and then kick at him. He ran up ; found him im- 
hurt. The men said that the horse was feeding with his 
tail toward the child, and looking round ran at him open- 
mouthed, pushed him down and leaped over him, and then 
kicked back at him. Their screaming, my brother sup- 
poses, prevented the horse from repeating the blow. 
Brother was greatly agitated, as you may suppose. I 
stayed at Tiverton about ten days, and got no small kudos 
among the young belles by complimentary effusions in the 
poetic way. 

A specimen : — 


Cupid, if storying Legends tell aright. 
Once framed a rich Elixir of Delight. 
A chalice o'er love-kindled flames he fix'd, 
And in it Nectar and Ambrosia mix'd : 
With these the magic deAvs which Evening brings, 
Brush'd from the Idalian star by faery wings : 
Each tender pledge of sacred Faith he join'd, 
Each gentler Pleasure of th' unspotted mind — 

1794] TO G. L. TUCKETT 57 

Day-dreams, whose tints with sportive brightness glow, 

And Hope, the blameless parasite of Woe. 

The eyeless Chymist heard the process rise, 

The steamy chalice bubbled up in sighs ; 

Sweet sounds transpired, as when the enamor'd dove 

Pours the soft murmuring of responsive Love. 

The finished work might Envy vainly blame, 

And " Kisses " was the precious Compound's name. 

With half the God his Cyprian Mother blest. 

And breath'd on Nesbitt's lovelier lips the rest. 

Do you know Fanny Nesbitt ? She was my fellow-trav- 
eler in the Tiverton diligence from Exeter. [She is], I 
think, a very pretty girl. The orders for tea are : Impri- 
mis, five pounds of ten shillings green ; Item, four pounds 
of eight shillings green ; in all nine pounds of tea. 

God bless you and your obliged 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Heklet, Thursday niglit, February 6 [1794]. 

Deae Tuckett, — I have this moment received your 
long letter ! The Tuesday before last, an accident of the 
Reading Fair, our regiment was disposed of for the week 
in and about the towns within ten miles of Reading, and, 
as it was not known before we set off to what places we 

^ G. L. Tuckett, to whom this let- ary, 1796, there is an amusing ref er- 
ter was addressed, was the first to ence to this kindly Deus ex Machina. 
disclose to Coleridge's family the un- " I called upon Tuckett, who thus 
welcome fact that he had enlisted in prophesied : ' You know how subject 
the army. He seems to have guessed Coleridge is to fits of idleness. Now, 
that the runaway would take his old I '11 lay any wager, Allen, that after 
schoolfellows into his confidence, and three or four numbers (of the Watch- 
that they might be induced to reveal man) the sheets will contain nothing 
the secret. He was, I presume, a but parliamentary debates, and 
college acquaintance, — possibly an Coleridge will add a note at the bot- 
old Blue, who had left the Univer- torn of the page : " I should think 
sity and was reading for the bar. myself deficient in my duty to the 
In an unpublished letter from Rob- Public if I did not give these inter- 
ert Allen to Coleridge, dated Febru- esting debates at full length." ' " 


would go, my letters were kept at the Reading post-office 
till our return. I was conveyed to Henley-upon-Thames, 
which place our regiment left last Tuesday ; but I am 
ordered to remain on account of these dreadfully trouble- 
some eruptions, and that I might nurse my comrade, who 
last Friday sickened of the confluent smallpox. So here 
I am, 'videlicet the Henley workhouse. ^ It is a little house 
of one apartment situated in the midst of a large garden, 
about a hundred yards from the house. It is four strides 
in length and three in breadth ; has four windows, which 
look to all the winds. The almost total want of sleep, the 
putrid smell, and the fatiguing struggles with my poor 
comrade during his delirium are nearly too much for me 
in my j^resent state. In return I enjoy external peace, 
and kind and respectful behaviour from the jDeoj)le of the 
workliouse. Tuckett, your motives must have been excel- 
lent ones ; how could they be otherwise I As an agent, 
therefore, you are blameless, but your efforts in my behalf 
demand my gratitude — that my heart will pay you, into 
whatever depth of horror your mistaken activity may 
eventually have precipitated me. As an agent, you stand 
acquitted, but the action was morally base. In an hour of 
extreme anguish, under the most solemn imposition of 
secrecy, I entrusted my place and residence to the young 
men at Clrrist's Hospital ; the intelligence which you ex- 
torted from their imbecility should have remained sacred 
with you. It lost not the obligation of secrecy by the 
transfer. But your motives justify you? To the eye of 
your friendship the divulging might have appeared neces- 
sary, but what shadow of necessity is there to excuse you in 
showing my letters — to stab the ver}^ heart of confidence. 

^ It would seem that there were sence, the " Domus quadrata horten- 

alloviations to the misery and dis- sw, at Henley-on-Thames," and " the 

comfort of this direful experience, beautiful girl " who, it would seem, 

In a MS. note dated January, 1805, soothed the captivity of the forlorn 

he recalls as a suitable incident for trooper. 
a projected work, The Soother in Ab- 


You have acted, Tuckett, so uniformly well that reproof 
must be new to you. I doubtless shall have offended you. 
I would to God that I, too, possessed the tender irritable- 
ness of unhandled sensibility. Mine is a sensibility gan- 
grened with inward corruption and the keen searching of 
the air from without. Your gossip with the commanding 
officer seems so totally useless and unmotived that I al- 
most find a difficulty in believing it. 

A letter from my brother George ! I feel a kind of 
pleasure that it is not directed — it lies unoj)ened — am I 
not already sufficiently miserable ? The anguish of those 
who love me, of him beneath the shadow of whose protec- 
tion I grew up — does it not plant the pillow with thorns 
and make my dreams full of terrors ? Yet I dare not burn 
the letter — it seems as if there were a horror in the ac- 
tion. One pang, however acute, is better than long-con- 
tinued solicitude. My brother George possessed the cheer- 
ing consolation of conscience — but I am talking I know 
not what — yet there is a pleasure, doubtless an exquisite 
pleasure, mingled up in the most painful of our virtuous 
emotions. Alas ! my poor mother ! What an intolerable 
weight of guilt is suspended over my head by a hair on 
one hand ; and if I endure to live — the look ever down- 
ward — insult, pity, hell ! God or Chaos, preserve me ! 
What but infinite Wisdom or infinite Confusion can do 


February 8, 1794. 

My more than brother ! What shall I say ? What 
shall I write to you ? Shall I profess an abhorrence of my 
past conduct ? Ah me ! too well do I know its iniquity ! 
But to abhor ! this feeble and exhausted heart supplies 
not so strong an emotion. O my wayward soul ! I have 
been a fool even to madness. What shall I dare to prom- 
ise ? My mind is illegible to myself. I am lost in the 


labyrinth, the trackless wilderness of my own bosom. 
Truly may I say, "I am wearied of being saved." My 
frame is chill and torpid. The ebb and flow of my hopes 
and fears has stagnated into recklessness. One wish only 
can I read distinctly in my heart, that it were possible for 
me to be forgotten as though I had never been ! The 
shame and sorrow of those who loved me ! The anguish 
of him who protected me from my childhood upwards, the 
sore travail of her who bore me ! Intolerable images of 
horror ! They haunt my sleep, they enfever my dreams ! 

that the shadow of Death were on my eyelids, that I 
were like the loathsome form by which I now sit ! O that 
without guilt I might ask of my Maker annihilation ! My 
brother, my brother ! pray for me, comfort me, my brother ! 

1 am very wretched, and, though my complaint be bitter, 
my stroke is heavier than my groaning. 



Tuesday night. February 11, 1794. 

I am indeed oppressed, oppressed with the greatness of 
your love ! Mine eyes gush out with tears, my heart is 
sick and lancmid with the weight of unmerited kindness. 
I had intended to have given you a minute history of my 
thoughts and actions for the last two years of my life. A 
most severe and faitliful history of the heart would it 
have been — the Omniscient knows it. But I am so mii- 
versally unwell, and the hour so late, that I must defer it 
till to-morrow. To-night I shall have a bed in a separate 
room from my comrade, and, I trust, shall have repaired 
my strength by sleep ere the morning. Por eight days 
and nights I have not had my clothes off. My comrade 
is not dead ; there is every hope of his escaping death. 
Closely has he been pursued by the mighty himter ! Un- 
doubtedly, my brother, I could wish to return to College ; 
I know what I must suffer there, but deeply do I feel 


what I ought to suffer. Is my brother James still at 
Salisbury ? I will write to him, to all. 

Concerning my emancipation, it appears to me that my 
discharge can be easily procured by interest, with great 
difficulty by negotiation ; but of this is not my brother 
James a more competent judge ? 

What my future life may produce I dare not anticipate. 
Pray for me, my brother. I will pray nightly to the 
Almighty dispenser of good and evil, that his chastise- 
ment may not have harrowed my heart in vain. Scepti- 
cism has mildewed my hope in the Saviour. I was far 
from disbelieving the truth of revealed religion, but still 
far from a steady faith — the " Comforter that should 
have relieved my soul " was far from me. 

Farewell ! to-morrow I will resume my pen. Mr. 
Boyer ! indeed, indeed, my heart thanks him ; how often 
in the petulance of satire, how ungratefully have I injured 
that man ! 



February 20, 1794. 

In a mind which vice has not utterly divested of sensi- 
bility, few occurrences can inflict a more acute pang than 
the receiving proofs of tenderness and love where only re- 
sentment and reproach were expected and deserved. The 
gentle voice of conscience which had incessantly murmured 
within the soul then raises its tone and speaks with a 
tongue of thunder. My conduct towards you, and towards 
my other brothers, has displayed a strange combination 
of madness, ingratitude, and dishonesty. But you forgive 
me. May my Maker forgive me ! May the time arrive 
when I shall have forgiven myself ! 

With regard to my emancipation, every inquiry I have 
made, every piece of intelligence I could collect, alike 
tend to assure me that it may be done by interest, but 


not by negotiation without an expense which I should 
tremble to write. Forty guineas were offered for a dis- 
charge the day after a young man was sworn in, and were 
refused. His friends made interest, and his discharge 
came down from the War Office. If, however, negotiation 
7nust be first attempted, it will be expedient to write to 
our colonel — his name is Gwynne — he holds the rank 
of general in the army. His address is General Gwynne, 
K. L. D., King's Mews, London. 

My assumed name is Silas Tomkyn Comberbacke, 
15th, or King's Regiment of Light Dragoons, G Troop. 
My number I do not know. It is of no import. The 
bounty I received was six guineas and a half ; but a light 
horseman's bounty is a mere lure ; it is expended for him 
in things which he must have had without a bounty — 
gaiters, a pair of leather breeches, stable jacket, and shell ; 
horse cloth, surcingle, watering bridle, brushes, and the 
long etc. of military accoutrement. I e?iUsfed the 2d of 
December, 1793, was attested and sworn the 4th. I am at 
present nurse to a sick man, and shall, I believe, stay at 
Henley another week. There will be a large draught 
from our regiment to complete our troops abroad. The 
men were picked out to-day. I suppose I am not one, 
being a very indocile equestrian. Farewell. 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Our regiment is at Reading, and Hounslow, and Maid- 
enhead, and Kensington ; our headquarters, Reading, 
Berks. The commanding officer there, Lieutenant Hop- 
kinson, our adjutant. 

To Captain James Coleridge, Tiverton, Devonshire. 


The Compasses, High Wycombe, March 12, 1794. 
My DEAR Brother, — Accept my poor thanks for the 
day's enclosed, which I received safely. I explained the 


whole matter to the adjutant, who laughed and said I 
had been used scurvily ; he deferred settlmg the bill till 
Thursday morning. A Captain Ogle/ of our regiment, 
who is returned from abroad, has taken great notice of 
me. When he visits the stables at night he always enters 
into conversation with me, and to-day, finding from the 
corporal's report that I was unwell, he sent me a couple of 
bottles of wine. These things demand my gratitude. I 
wrote last week — currente calamo — a declamation for 
my friend Allen on the comparative good and evil of 
novels. The credit which he got for it I shoidd almost 
blush to tell you. All the fellows have got copies, and 
they meditate having it printed, and dispersing it through 
the University. The best part of it I built on a sentence 
in a last letter of yours, and indeed, I wrote most part of 
it feelingly. 

I met yesterday, smoking in the recess, a chimney 
corner of the pot-house ^ at which I am quartered, a man 
of the greatest information and most original genius I 
ever lit upon. His philosophical theories of heaven and 
hell would have both amused you and given you hints for 
much speculation. He solemnly assured me that he be- 
lieved himself divinely inspired. He slept in the same 
room with me, and kept me awake till three in the morn- 
ing with his ontological disquisitions. Some of the ideas 

1 In the various and varying rem- he was not, as the poet Bowles and 
iniscences of his soldier days, which Miss Mitford maintained, the sole 
fell " from Coleridge's own mouth," instrument in procuring the dis- 
and were repeated by his delighted charge. He may have exerted him- 
and credulous hearers, this officer self privately, but his name does not 
plays an important part. Whatever occur in the formal correspondence 
foundation of fact there may be which passed between Coleridge's 
for the touching anecdote that the brothers and the military author- 
Latin sentence, " Eheu ! quam infor- ities. 

tunii miserrimum est fuisse felicem^'' ^ The Compasses, now The 

scribbled on the walls of the stable Chequers, High Wycombe, where 

at Reading, caught the attention of Coleridge was billeted just a hun- 

Captain Ogle, " himself a scholar," dred years ago, appears to have pre- 

and led to Comberbacke's detection, served its original aspect. 


would have made you shudder from their daring impiety, 
others would have astounded with their sublimity. My 
memory, tenacious and systematizing, would enable [me] 
to write an octavo from his conversation. " I find [says 
he] from the intellectual atmosphere that emanes from, 
and envelops you, that you are in a state of recipiency." 
lie was deceived. I have little faith, yet am wonderfully 
fond of speculating on mystical schemes. Wisdom may 
be gathered from the maddest flights of imagination, as 
medicines were stumbled upon in the wild processes of 
alchemy. God bless you. Your ever grateful 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Tuesday evening. — I leave this place [High Wy- 
combe] on Thursday, 10 o'clock, for Reading. A letter 
will arrive in time before I go. 


Sunday night, March 21, 1794. 

I have endeavoured to feel what I ought to feel. Affih- 
ated to you from my childhood, what must be my present 
situation? But I know you, my dear brother; and I 
entertain a humble confidence that my efforts in well- 
doing shall in some measure repay you. There is a vis 
inerticB in the human mind — I am convinced that a man 
once corrupted will ever remain so, unless some sudden 
revolution, some unexpected change of place or station, 
shall have utterly altered his connection. When these 
shocks of adversity liave electrified his moral frame, he 
fiH'ls a convak^sconco of soul, and becomes hke a bemg 
recently formed from the hands of nature. 

The 'last letter I received from you at High Wycombe 
wis that almost blank letter which enclosed the guinea. 
I Inve written to the postmaster. I have breeches and 
waistcoats at Cambridge, three or four shirts, and some 
neckcloths, and a few pairs of stockings; the clothes, 


which, rather from the order of the regiment than the 
impulse of my necessities, I parted with in Reading on 
my first arrival at the regiment, I disposed of for a mere 
trifle, comparatively, and at a small expense can recover 
them all but my coat and hat. They are gone irrevo- 
cably. My shirts, which I have with me, are, all but one, 
worn to rags — mere rags ; their texture was ill-adapted 
to the labour of the stables. 

Shall I confess to you my weakness, my more than 
brother? I am afraid to meet you. When I call to 
mind the toil and wearisomeness of your avocations, and 
think how you sacrifice your amusements and your 
health ; when I recollect your habitual and self -forgetting 
economy, how generously severe, my soul sickens at its 
own guilt. A thousand reflections crowd in my mind ; 
they are almost too much for me. Yet you, my brother, 
would comfort me, not reproach me, and extend the hand 
of forgiveness to one whose purposes were virtuous, 
though infirm, and whose energies vigorous, though desul- 
tory. Indeed, I long to see you, although I cannot help 
dreading it. 

I mean to write to Dr. Pearce. The letter I will enclose 
to you. Perhaps it may not be proper to wiite, perhaps it 
may be necessary. You will best judge. The discharge 
should, I think, be sent down to the adjutant — yet I 
don't know ; it would be more comfortable to me to 
receive my dismission in London, were it not iov the 
appearing in these clothes. 

By to-morrow I shall be enabled to tell the exact ex- 
penses of equipping, etc. 

I must conclude abruptly. God bless you, and your 
ever grateful 

S. T. Coleridge. 



End of March, 1794. 

My dear Brother, — I have been rather uneasy, that 
I have not heard from you since my departure from High 
Wycoiulie. Your letters are a comfort to me in the 
comforth'ss hour — they are manna in the wilderness. 
I shoiild have written you long ere this, but in truth I 
have been blockaded l)y a whole army of petty vexations, 
bad quarters, etc., and within this week I have been thrown 
three times from my horse and run away with to the no 
small perturbation of my nervous system almost every day. 
I ride a horse, young, and as undisciplined as myself. 
After tumult and agitation of any kind the mind and aU 
its affections seem to doze for a while, and we sit shiver- 
ing with chilly feverishness wrapped up in the ragged and 
threadbare cloak of mere animal enjov:nent. 

On Sunday last I was surprised, or rather confounded, 
with a visit from Mr. Cornish, so confounded that for 
more than a minute I could not speak to him. He be- 
haved with great delicacy and much apparent solicitude 
of friendship. He passed through Eeading with his sister 
Lady Shore. I have received several letters from my 
friends at Cambridge, of most soothing contents. They 
write me, that with " undiminished esteem and increased 
affection, the Jcsuitcs look forward to my return as to 
that of a lost brother ! " 

IVIy present address is the White Hart, Beading, Berks. 

Adieu, most dear brother ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 

xxviii. to the same. 

March 27, 1794. 
My dear Brother, — I find that I was too sanguine 
in my expectations of recovering all my clothes. My coat, 
whicli I had supposed gone, and all the stockings, viz., 


four pairs of almost new silk stockings, and two pairs of 
new silk and cotton, I can get again for twenty-three shil- 
lings. I have ordered, therefore, a pair of breeches, which 
will be nineteen shillings, a waistcoat at twelve shillings, 
a pair of shoes at seven shillings and four pence. Besides 
these I must have a hat, which will be eighteen shillings, 
and two neckcloths, which will be five or six shillings. 
These things I have ordered. My travelling expenses will 
be about half a guinea. Have I done wronof in ordering- 
these things ? Or did you mean me to do it by desiring me 
to arrange what was necessary for my personal appear- 
ance at Cambridge ? I have so seldom acted right, that 
in every step I take of my own accord I tremble lest I 
should be wrong. I forgot in the above account to men- 
tion a flannel waistcoat ; it will be six shillings. The 
military dress is almost oppressively warm, and so very ill 
as I am at present I think it imprudent to hazard cold. 
I will see you at London, or rather at Hackney. There 
will be two or three trifling expenses on my leaving the 
army ; I know not their exact amount. The adjutant dis- 
missed me from all duty yesterday. My head throbs so, 
and I am so sick at stomach that it is with difficulty I can 
write. One thing more I wished to mention. There are 
three books, which I parted with at Reading. The book- 
seller, whom I have occasionally obliged by composing 
advertisements for his newspaper, has offered them me at 
the same price he bought them. They are a very valuable 
edition of Casimir ^ by Barbou,^ a Synesius ^ by Canterus 

^ See Notes to Poetical Works of " In the course of the Work will 

Coleridge (1893), p. 568. The " in- be introduced a coj^ious selection 

tended translation " was advertised from the Lyrics of Casimir, and a 

in the Cambridge Intelligencer for new Translation of the Basia of Se- 

June 14 and June 16, 1*794 : " Pro- cundus." 

posals for publishing by subscrip- One ode, " Ad Lyram," was print- 

tion Imitations from the Modern ed in The Watchman, No. 11, March 

Latin Poets, with a Critical and Bi- 9, 1796, p. 49. 

ographical Essay on the Restoration ^ The Barbou Casimir, published 

of Literature. By S. T. Coleridge, at Paris in 1759. 

of Jesus College, Cambridge. ... ^ Compare the note to chapter 


and Bentley's Quarto Edition. They are worth thirty 
shillings, at least, and I sold them for fourteen. The two 
first I mean to translate. I have finished two or three 
Odes of Casimir, and shall on my return to College send 
them to Dodsley as a specimen of an intended translation. 
Barbou's edition is the only one that contains all the 
works of Casiuiir. God bless you. Yoiu" grateful 

S. T. C. 


Sunday nig-ht, March 30, 1794. 

My dear Brother, — I received your enclosed. I am 
fearful, that as you advise me to go immediately to Cam- 
bridge after my discharge, that the utmost contrivances 
of economy will not enable [me] to make it adequate to 
all the expenses of my clothes and travelling. I shall go 
across the country on many accoimts. The expense (I 
have examined) will be as nearly equal as well can be. 
The fare from Reading to High Wycombe on the outside 
is four shillings, from High Wycombe to Cambridge (for 
there is a coach that passes through Cambridge from Wy- 
combe) I suppose about twelve shillings, perhaps a trifle 
more. I shall be two days and a half on the road, two 
nights. Can I calculate the expense at less than half a 
guinea, including all things ? An additional guinea would 
perhaps be sufficient. Surely, my brother, I am not so 
utterly abandoned as not to feel the meaiung and duty of 
econfnni/. Oh mo ! I wish to God I were happy ; but it 
would be strange indeed if I were so. 

I long ago theoretically and in a less degree experi- 
nuMitally knew tlie necessity of faith in order to regidate 

xii. of till' liioijraphia Litcraria : before my fifteenth year." The 

" III the Biosraphieal Sketch of my edition referred to may be that 

Litoriiry Life I may be excused if published at B;isle iu 1567. Inter- 

I mention liere that I had transhited prete G. Cantero. Bentley's Quarto 

the oii^-ht Hymns of Synesius from Edition was probably the Quarto 

the Greek into English Anacreontics Edition of Horace, published in 1711. 


virtue, nor did I even seriously disbelieve the existence of 
a future state. In short, my religious creed bore and, 
perhaps, bears a correspondence with my mind and heart. 
I had too much vanity to be altogether a Christian, too 
much tenderness of nature to be utterly an infidel. Fond 
of the dazzle of wit, fond of subtlety of argument, I could 
not read without some degree of pleasure the levities of 
Voltaire or the reasonings of Helvetius ; but, tremblingly 
alive to the feelings of humanity, and susceptible to the 
charms of truth, my heart forced me to admire the " beauty 
of holiness " in the Gospel, forced me to love the Jesus, 
whom my reason (or perhaps my reasonings) would not 
permit me to worship, — my faith, therefore, was made up 
of the Evangelists and the deistic philosophy — a kind of 
religious twilight. 1 said, ^"^ perhaps bears,'' — yes! my 
brother, for who can say, " JYow I '11 be a Christian " ? 
Faith is neither altogether voluntary ; we cannot believe 
what we choose, but we can certainly cultivate such habits 
of thinking and acting as will give force and effective 
energy to the arguments on either side. 

If I receive my discharge by Thursday, I will be, God 
pleased, in Cambridge on Sunday. Farewell, my brother ! 
Believe me your severities only wound me as they awake 
the voice within to speak, ah ! how more harshly ! I feel 
gratitude and love towards you, even when I shrink and 
shiver. Your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 


April 1, 1794. 

My dear Brother, — The last three days I have 
spent at Bray, near Maidenhead, at the house of a gen- 
tleman who has behaved with particular attention to me. 
I accepted his invitation as it was in my power in some 
measure to repay his kindness by the revisal of a per- 
formance he is about to publish, and by writing him a 


dedication and preface. At my return I found two let- 
ters from you, the one containing the two guineas, which 
will be perfectly adequate to my expenses, and, my brother, 
what some part of your letter made me feel, I am iU able 
to express ; but of this at another time. I have signed 
the certiiicate of my expenses, but not my discharge. 
The moment I receive it I shall set off for Cambridge im- 
mediately, most pioljably through London, as the gentle- 
man, whose house 1 was at at Bray, has pressed me to take 
his horse, and accompany him on Wednesday morning, as 
he himself intends to ride to town that day. If my dis- 
charge comes down on Tuesday morning I shall embrace 
his offer, particidarly as I shall be introduced to his book- 
seller, a thing of some consequence to my present views. 

Claggetihas set four songs of mine most divinely, for 
two violins and a pianoforte. I have done him some ser- 
vices, and he wishes me to write a serious opera, which he 
will set, and have introduced. It is to be a joint work. I 
think of it. The rules for adajitable composition which 
he has given me are excellent, and I feel my powers 
greatly strengthened, owing, I believe, to my having read 
little or nothing for these last four months. 


May 1, 1794. 

My dear Brother, — I have been convened before the 
fellows.2 Dr. Pearce behaved ^-ith great asperity, Mr. 
Plampin ^ with exceeding and most delicate kindness. My 

1 (;ii;irlcs Cl,ii;-s'ct, a Tiinsioal com- - Tlie entry iu the College Regis- 
poser .iiul iiivoiitorof inusieal instru- ter of Jesus College is brief and to 
mcntH, iioiirisliod towards the elose the point: " 1794 Apr. : Coleridge 
of tho eighteenth century. I have admonitits est per magistrum in prce- 
beeu unable to ascertain whether seniiCi sociarum.'" 
tho songs in question were ever pub- « A letter to George Coleridge 
ILshed. Dirtlonnrij of Miigic amUru- dated April 16, 1794, and signed J. 
sicians, edited by George Grove, Plampin, has been preserved. The 
D. C. L., 1879, article "Clagget,"' pains and penalties to which Cole- 
j 3,-Q_ ridge had subjected himself are 


sentence is a reprimand (not a public one, but implied in 
the sentence), a month's confinement to the precincts of 
the College, and to translate the works of Demetrius Pha- 
lareus into English. It is a thin quarto of about ninety 
Greek pages. All the fellows tried to persuade the Mas- 
ter to greater leniency, but in vain. Without the least 
affectation I applaud his conduct, and think nothing of it. 
The confinement is nothing. I have the fields and grove 
of the College to walk in, and what can I wish more ? 
What do I wish more ? Nothing. The Demetrius is dry, 
and utterly untransferable to tnodern use, and yet from 
the Doctor's words I suspect that he wishes it to be a 
publication, as he has more than once sent to know how I 
go on, and pressed me to exert erudition in some notes, 
and to write a preface. Besides this, I have had a decla- 
mation to write in the routine of college business, and 
the Rustat examination, at which I got credit. I get up 
every morning at five o'clock. 

Every one of my acquaintance I have dropped solemnly 
and forever, except those of my College with whom be- 
fore my departure I had been least of all connected — 
who had always remonstrated against my imprudences, 
yet have treated me with almost fraternal affection, Mr. 
Caldwell particularly. I thought the most decent way 
of dropping acquaintances was to express my intention, 
openly and irrevocably. 

I find I must either go out at a by-term or degrade to 
the Christmas after next ; but more of this to-morrow. I 
have been engaged in finishing a Greek ode. I mean to 
write for all the prizes. I have had no time upon my 
hands. I shall aim at correctness and perspicuity, not 
genius. My last ode was so sublime that nobody could 

stated in full, but the kindly nature proper ; and I beg to assure you that 

of the writer is shown in the con- it will give me much pleasure to see 

eluding sentence : " I am happy in him take such an advantage of his 

adding that I thought your brother's experience as his own good sense will 

conduct on his return extremely dictate." 


understand it. If I should be so very luclcy as to win 
one of the prizes, I could comfortably ask the Doctor 
advice concerning the time of my degree. I will write 

God l)less you, my brother ! my father ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Gloucester, Sunday morning, July 6, 1794. 

S. T. Coleridge to li. Southey, Health and Republican- 
ism to be ! When yoii write, direct to me, " To be kept at 
the Post Office, Wrexham, Denbighshire, N. Wales." I 
mention this circumstance nov), lest carried away by a 
flood of confluent ideas I should forget it. You are averse 
to gratitudinarian flourishes, else would I talk about hos- 
pitality, attentions, etc. However, as I must not thank 
you, I will thank my stars. Yerily, Southey, I like not 
Oxford nor the inhabitants of it. I would say, thou art 
a nightingale among owls, but thou art so songless and 
heavy towards night that I will rather liken thee to the 
matin lark. Thy nest is in a blighted cornfield, where 
the sleepy poppy nods its red-cowled head, and the weak- 
eyed mole plies his dark work ; but thy soaring is even 
mito heaven. Or let me add (for my appetite for sim- 
iles is truly canine at this moment) that as the Italian 
nobles their new-fashioned doors, so thou dost make the 
adamantine gate of democracy turn on its golden hinges to 
most sweet music. Our joi^rne^'ing has been intolerably 
fatiguing from the heat and whiteness of the roads, and 
the unlicdAjcd cotintry presents nothing but stone fences, 
dreary to the eye and scorching to the touch. But we 
shall soon be in Wales. 

Gloucester is a nothing-to-be-said-about town. The 
women have almost all of them sharp noses. 

It is xoronrj^ Southey! for a little girl with a half- 


famished sickly baby in lier arms to put her head in at 
the window of an inn — " Pray give me a bit of bread 
and meat ! " from a party dining on lamb, green peas, 
and salad. Why ? Because it is impertinent and ohtru- 
sive 1 " I am a gentleman ! and wherefore the clamorous 
voice of woe intrude upon mine ear ? " My companion is 
a man of cultivated, though not vigorous miderstanding ; 
his feelings are all on the side of humanity ; yet such are 
the unfeeling remarks, which the lingering remains of 
aristocracy occasionally prompt. When the pure system 
of pantisocracy shall have aspTieterized — from d, non, 
and (TcjiiTepos, proprius (we really wanted such a word}, in- 
stead of travelling along the circuitous, dusty, beaten 
highroad of diction, you thus cut across the soft, green, 
pathless field of novelty ! Similes for ever ! Hurrah ! I 
have bought a little blank book, and portable ink horn ; 
[and] as I journey onward, I ever and anon pluck the 
wild flowers of poesy, " inhale their odours awhile," then 
throw them away and think no more of them. I will not 
do so ! Two lines of mine : — 

And o'er the sky's unclouded bkie 
The sultry heat suffused a hrassy hue. 

The cockatrice is a foul dragon with a crown on its head. 
The Eastern nations believe it to be hatched by a viper 
on a cock's egg. Southey, dost thou not see wisdom 
in her Coan vest of allegory ? The cockatrice is emblem- 
atic of monarchy, a monster generated by ingratitude 
or absurdity. When serpents stlng^ the only remedy is 
to kill the serpent.) and besmear the wound with the fat. 
Would you desire better sympathy ? 

Description of heat from a poem I am manufacturing, 
the title : " Perspiration. A Travelling Eclogue." 

The dust flies smothering, as on clatt'ring wheel 
Loath'd aristocracy careers along; 


Th6 distant track quick vibrates to the eye, 
And white and dazzling undulates with heat, 
Where scorching to the unwary travellers' touch, 
The stone fence flings its narrow slip of shade ; 
Or, where the worn sides of the chalky road 
Yield their scant excavations (sultry grots !), 
Emblem of languid patience, we behold 
The fleecy files faint-ruminating lie. 

Farewell, sturdy Republican ! Write me concerning 
Burnett and tliyself, and concerning etc., etc. My next 
sliall 1)6 a more sober and chastened epistle ; but, you see, 
I was in the humour for metaphors, and, to tell thee the 
truth, I have so often serious reasons to quarrel with my 
inclination, that I do not choose to contradict it for trifles. 
To Lovell, fraternity and civic remembrances I Hucks' 


Addressed to " Robert Southey. Miss Tyler's, Bristol.'' 


Wkexham. Sunday, July 15, 1794.1 

Your letter, Southey ! made me melancholy. Man is a 
bundle of habits, but of all habits the habit of despond- 
ence is the most pernicious to virtue and happiness. I 
once shipwrecked my frail bark on that rock ; a friendly 
plank was vouchsafed me. Be you wise by my experience, 

1 A week later, July 22, in a let- year. Coleridge's letters from for- 
ter addressed to H. Martin, of Jesus eign parts were -n-ritten with a view 
College, to whom, in the following to literary effect, and often with the 
September, he dedicated ' ' The Fall half-formed intention of sending 
of Robespierre," Coleridge repeated them to the '• booksellers." They 
almost verbatim large portions of this are to be compared with " letters 
lettre cle voyage. The incident of the from our own correspondent," and in 
sentiment and the Welsh clergyman respect of picturesque adventure, 
takes a somewhat different shape, dramatic dialogue, and so forth, must 
and both versions differ from the re- be judged solely by a literary stand- 
port of the same occurrence con- ard. Biographia Literaria, 1847, 
tained in Hueks' account of the tour, ii. o3S-o4o ; J. Hucks' Tour in North 
which was published in the following Walts, 1795, p. 25. 


and receive unhurt the flower, which I have climbed preci- 
pices to pluck. Consider the high advantages which you 
possess in so eminent a degree — health, strengih of mind, 
and confirmed habits of strict morality. Beyond all doubt, 
by the creative powers of your genius, you might supply 
whatever the stern simplicity of republican wants could 
require. Is there no possibility of procuring the office of 
clerk in a compting-house ? A month's application woidd 
qualify you for it. For God's sake, Southey ! enter not 
into the church. Concerning Allen I say little, but I feel 
anguish at times. This earnestness of remonstrance ! I 
will not offend you by asking your pardon for it. The 
following is a fact. A friend of Hucks' after long strug- 
gles between principle and interest., as it is improperly 
called, accepted a place under government. He took the 
oaths, shuddered, went home and threw himself in an 
agony out of a two-pair of stairs window ! These dreams 
of despair are most soothing to the imagination. I well 
know it. We shroud ourselves in the mantle of distress, 
and tell our poor hearts, " This is liapjnness I " There 
is a dignity in all these solitary emotions that flatters the 
pride of our nature. Enough of sermonizing. As I was 
meditating on the capability of pleasure in a mind like 
yours, I unwarily fell into poetry : ^ — 

'T is thine with fairy forms to talk, 
And thine the philosophic walk ; 
And what to thee the sweetest are — 
The setting sun, the Evening Star — 
The tints, that live along the sky, 
The Moon, that meets thy raptured eye, 
Where grateful oft the big drops start, 
Dear silent pleasures of the Heart ! 
But if thou pour one votive lay, 
For humble independence pray ; 

^ The lines are from "Happiness," See Poetical WorJcs, p. 1*7. See, too, 
an early poem first published in 1834. Editor's Note, p. 564. 


Whom (sages say) in days of yore 

Meek Competence to Wisdom bore. 

So shall thy little vessel glide 

With a fair breeze adown the tide, 

Till Death shall close thy tranquil eye 

While Faith exclaims : " Thou shalt not die ! " 

" The heart-smile glowing on his aged cheek 
Mild as decaying light of summer's eve," 

are lines eminently beautiful. The whole is pleasing. 
For a motto ! Surely my memory has suffered an epileptic 
fit. A Greek motto would be pedantic. These lines will 
perhaps do : — 

All mournful to the pensive sages' eye,^ 
The monuments of human glory Ke ; 
Fall'n palaces crush 'd by the ruthless haste 
Of Time, and many an empire's silent waste — 

But where a sight shall shuddering sorrow find 
Sad as the ruins of the human mind, — 


A better will soon occur to me. Poor Poland I They 
go on sadly there. Warmth of particular friendship does 
not imply absorption. The nearer you approach the sim, 
the more intense are his rays. Yet M'hat distant corner of 
the system do they not cheer and vivify ? The ardour of 
private attachments makes philanthropy a necessary habit 
of the soul. I love my friend. Such as he is, all mankind 
are or might be. The deduction is evident. Philanthropy 
(and indeed every other virtue) is a thing of concretioii. 
Some home-born fooling is the centre of the ball, that 
rolling on through life collects and assimilates every con- 
genial affection. What did you mean by H. has " my 

^ Quoted from a poem by Bowles lines of the quotation as a motto for 

entitled, " Verses inscribed to His his " Botany Bay Eclogiies." Poet- 

Grace the Duke of Leeds, and other ical Works of Milman, Bowles, etc., 

Promoters of the Philanthropic Soci- Paris, 1829, p. 117 ; Southey's Poeti- 

ety." Southey adopted the last two cal Works, 1837, ii. 71. 


understanding " ? I have puzzled myself in vain to dis- 
cover the import of the sentence. The only sense it 
seemed to bear was so like mock-humility^ that I scolded 
myself for the momentary supposition.^ My heart is so 
heavy at present, that I will defer the finishing of this 
letter till to-morrow. 

I saw a face in Wrexham Church this morning, which 
recalled " Thoughts full of bitterness and images " too 
dearly loved ! now past and but " Kemembered like sweet 
sounds of yesterday ! " At Eoss (sixteen miles from 
Gloucester) we took up our quarters at the King's Arms, 
once the house of Kyrle, the Man of Eoss. I gave the 
window-shutter the following effusion : ^ — 

Richer than Misers o'er their countless hoards, 

Nobler than Kings, or king-polluted Lords, 

Here dwelt the Man of Ross ! O Traveller, hear ! 

Departed Merit claims the glistening tear. 

Friend to the friendless, to the sick man health, 

With generous joy he viewed his modest wealth ; 

He heard the widow's heaven-breathed prayer of praise, 

He mark'd the sheltered oi'phan's tearful gaze ; 

And o'er the dowried maiden's glowing cheek 

Bade bridal love suffuse its blushes meek. 

If 'neath this roof thy wine-cheer'd moments pass, 

Fill to the good man's name one grateful glass ! 

To higher zest shall Memory wake thy soul, 

And Virtue mingle in the sparkhng bowl. 

But if, like me, thro' life's distressful scene, 

Lonely and sad thy pilgrimage hath been, 

And if thy breast with heart-sick anguish fraught, 

Thou journeyest onward tempest-tost in thought, 

Here cheat thy cares, — in generous visions melt, 

And dream of Goodness thou hast never felt ! 

I will resume the pen to-morrow. 

^ Southey, -sve may suppose, had 2 Poetical Works, p. 33. See, too, 
contrasted Hucks with Coleridge. Editor's Note, p. 510. 
' H. is on my level, not yours." 


Monday, 11 o'clock. Well, praised be God ! here I 
am. Videlicet, Ruthin, sixteen miles from Wrexham. At 
Wrexham Church I glanced upon the face of a Miss E. 
Evans, a young lady with [whom] I had been in habits of 
fraternal correspondence. She turned excessively pale ; 
she thought it my ghost, I suppose. I retreated with all 
possible speed to ovir inn. There, as I was standing at the 
window, passed by Eliza Evans, and with her to my utter 
surprise her sister, Mary Evans, quam efflictim et perdite 
amabam. I apprehend she is come from London on a 
visit to her grandmother, with whom Eliza lives. I turned 
sick, and all but fainted away I The two sisters, as H. 
informs me, passed by the window anxiously several times 
afterwards ; but I had retired. 

Vivit, sed mihi non vivit — nova forte marita, 
Ah dolor ! alterius cava a cervice pependit. 
Vos, malefida valete accensce insomnia mentis, 
Littora amata valete ! Vale, ah ! formosa Maria ! 

My fortitude woidd not have supported me. had I recog- 
nized her — I mean cqjpeared to do it I I neither ate nor 
slept yesterday. But love is a local angaiish ; I am six- 
teen miles distant, and am not half so miserable. I must 
endeavour to forget it amid the terrible graces of the wild 
wood scenery that surround me. I never durst even in a 
whisper avow my passion, though I knew she loved me. 
Where were my fortunes ? and why shoidd I make her 
miserable ! Almighty God bless her I Her image is in 
the sanctuary of my heart, and never can it be torn away 
but with the strings that grapple it to life. Southey ! 
there are few men of whose delicacy I think so highly as 
to have written all this. I am glad I have so deemed of 
you. We are soothed by communications. 

Denbigh (eight miles from Ruthin). 

And now to give you some little account of our journey. 
From Oxford to Gloucester, to Ross, to Hereford, to 


Leominster, to Bishop's Castle, to Welsh Pool, to Llanfyl- 
lin, nothing occurred worthy notice except that at the last 
place I preached pantisocracy and aspheterism with so 
much success that two great huge fellows of butcher-like 
appearance danced about the room in enthusiastic agita- 
tion. And one of them of his own accord called for a 
large glass of brandy, and drank it off to this his own 
toast, " God save the King ! And may he be the last." 
Southey ! Such men may be of use. They would kill the 
golden calf secundum artem. From Llanfyllin we pene- 
trated into the interior of the country to Llangunnog, a 
village most romantically situated. We dined there on 
hashed mutton, cucumber, bread and cheese, and beer, and 
had two pots of ale — the sum total of the expense being 
sixteen pence for both of us ! From Llangmmog we walked 
over the mountains to Bala — most sublimely terrible ! It 
was scorchingly hot. I applied my mouth ever and anon to 
the side of the rocks and sucked in draughts of water cold 
as ice, and clear as infant diamonds in their embryo dew ! 
The rugged and stony clefts are stupendous, and in winter 
must form cataracts most astonishing. At this time of 
the year there is just water enough dashed down over 
them to " soothe, not disturb the pensive traveller's ear." 
I slept by the side of one an hour or more. As we 
descended the mountain, the sun was reflected in the 
river, that winded through the valley with insufferable 
brightness ; it rivalled the sky. At Bala is nothing re- 
markable except a lake of eleven miles in circumference. 
At the inn I was sore afraid that I had caught the itch 
from a Welsh democrat, who was charmed with my senti- 
ments : he grasped my hand with flesh-bruising ardor, and 
I trembled lest some disappointed citizens of the animal- 
cular republic should have emigrated. 

Shortly after, into the same room, came a well-dressed 
clergyman and four others, among whom (the landlady 
whispers me) was a justice of the peace and the doctor of 


the parish. I was asked for a gentleman. I gave General 
Washmgton. The parson said in a low voice, " Republi- 
cans ! " After which, the medical man said, " Damn 
toasts ! I gives a sentiment : May all republicans be guil- 
lotined ! " Up starts the Welsh democrat. " May all 
fools be gulloteen'd — and then you will be the first." 
Thereon rogue, villain, traitor flew thick in each other's 
faces as a hailstorm. This is nothing in Wales. They 
make calling one another liars, etc., necessary vent-holes 
to the superfluous fumes of the temper. At last I endeav- 
oured to articulate by observing that, whatever might be 
our opinions in politics, the appearance of a clergyman in 
the company assured me we were all Christians ; " though," 
continued I, " it is rather difficult to reconcile the last sen- 
timent with the spirit of Christianity." "Phol" quoth 
the parson, " Christianity ! Why, we are not at church 
now, are we ? The gemman's sentiment was a very good 
one ; it showed he was sincere in his princijiles." Welsh 
politics could not prevail over Welsh hospitality. They 
all, except the parson, shook me by the hand, and said I 
was an open-hearted, honest-speaking fellow, though I was 
a bit of a democrat. 

From Bala we travelled onward to Llangollen, a most 
beautiful village in a most beautiful situation. On the 
road we met two Cantabs of my college, Brookes and Berd- 
more. These rival pedestrians — perfect Poioells — were 
vigorously pursuing their tour in a j^ost-chaise f We 
laughed famously. Their only excuse was that Berdmore 
had been ill. From Llangollen to Wrexham, from Wrex- 
ham to Ruthin, to Denbigh. At Denbigh is a ruined cas- 
tle ; it surpasses everj^thing I could have conceived. I 
wandered there an hour and a half last evening (this is 
Tuesday morning). Two well-dressed young men were 
walking there. "Come," says one, "I'll play my flute; 
't will be romantic." " Bless thee for the thought, man of 
genius and sensibility ! " I exclaimed, and preattuned my 


heartstring to tremulous emotion. He sat adown (the 
moon just peering) amid the awful part of the ruins, and 
the romantic youth struck up the affecting tune of " Mrs. 
Carey." ^ 'T is fact, upon my honour. 

God bless you, Southey ! We shall be at Aberystwith ^ 
this day week. When will you come out to meet us ? 
There you must direct your letter. Hucks' compliments. 
I anticipate much accession of republicanism from Lovell. 
I have positively done nothing but dream of the system of 
no property every step of the way since I left you, till last 
Sunday. Heigho ! 

Robert Southey, No. 8 Westcott Buildings, Bath. 

10 o'clock, Thursday mornmg, Septemher 18, 1794. 

Well, my dear Southey! I am at last arrived at Jesus. 
My God ! how tumultuous are the movements of my heart. 
Since I quitted this room what and how important events 
have been evolved ! America ! Southey ! Miss Fricker ! 
Yes, Southey, you are right. Even Love is the creature 
of strong motive. I certainly love her. I think of her 
incessantly and with unspeakable tenderness, — with that 
inward melting away of soul that symptomatizes it. 

Pantisocracy ! Oh, I shall have such a scheme of 
it ! My head, my heart, are all alive. I have drawn up 
my arguments in battle array ; they shall have the tacti- 

^ Hueks records the incident in remark to me, when we had climhed 

much the same words, but gives the to the top of Plinlimmon, and were 

name of the tune as " Corporal Ca- nearly dead with thirst. We could 

sey- not speak from the constriction tiU 

2 The letter to Martin gives further we found a little puddle under a 

particulars of the tour, including stone. He said to me, ' You grinned 

the ascent of Penmaen Mawr in com- like an idiot.' He had done the 

pany with Brookes and Berdmore. same." The parching thirst of the 

Compare Table Talk for May 31, pedestrians, and their excessive joy 

1830 : "I took the thought of grin- at the discovery of a spring of water, 

ning for joy in that poem [The An- are recorded by Hucks. Tour in 

cient Mariner) from my companion's North Wales, 1795, p. 62. 


dan excellence of the mathematician with the enthusiasm 
of the poet. The head shall be the mass ; the heart the 
fiery spirit that fills, informs, and agitates the whole. Har- 
wood — pish ! I say nothing of him. 

I am longing to be with you. Make Edith my sister. 
Surely, Southey, we shall he frendotatoi meta frendous — 
most friendly where all are friends. She must, therefore, 
be more emphatically my sister. 

Brookes and Berdmore, as I suspected, have spread my 
opinions in mangled forms at Cambridge. Caldwell, the 
most pantisocratic of aristocrats, has been laughing at 
me. Up I arose, terrible in reasoning. He fled from me, 
because " he could not answer for his own sanity, sitting 
so near a madman of genius." He told me that the 
strength of my imagination had intoxicated my reason, 
and that the acuteness of my reason had given a directing 
influence to my imagination. Four months ago the re- 
mark would not have been more elegant than just. Now 
it is nothing. 

I like your sonnets exceedingly — the best of any I 
have yet seen.^ " Though to the eye fail- is the extended 
vale " should be " to the eye though fair the extended vale." 
I by no means disapprove of discord introduced to produce 
effect, nor is my ear so fastidious as to be angry -^dth it 
where it could not have been avoided -u-ithout weakening 
the sense. But discord for discord's sake is rather too 

" Wild wind " has no other but alliterative beauty ; it 
applies to a storm, not to the autumnal breeze that makes 
the trees rustle mournfully. Alter it to " That rustle to 
the sad wind moaningly." 

" 'T was a long way and tedious," and the three last 
lines are marked beauties — unlaboured strains poured 
soothingly along from the feeling simplicity of heart. The 
1 Southey's Poetical Works, 1837, ii. 93. 



next sonnet is altogether exquisite, — the circumstance 
common yet new to poetry, the moral accurate and full of 
soul.i C4 X never saw," etc., is most exquisite. I am almost 
ashamed to write the following, it is so inferior. Ashamed ? 
No, Southey ! God knows my heart ! I am delighted to 
feel you superior to me in genius as in virtue. 

No more my visionary soul shall dwell 

On joys that were ; no more endure to weigh 

The shame and anguish of the evil day. 

Wisely forgetful ! O'er the ocean swell 

Sublime of HoiDe, I seek the cottag'd dell 

Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray, 

And, dancing to the moonlight roundelay, 

The wizard Passions weave an holy spell. 

Eyes that have ach'd with sorrow ! ye shall weep 

Tears of doubt-mingled joy, like theirs who start 

From precipices of distemper'd sleep, 

On which the fierce-eyed fiends their revels keep, 

And see the rising sun, and feel it dart 

New rays of pleasance trembling to the heart.'^ 

I have heard from Allen, and write the third letter to 
him. Yours is the second. Perhaps you would like two 
sonnets I have written to my Sally. When I have re- 
ceived an answer from Allen I will tell you the contents 
of his first letter. 

My compliments to Heath. 

I will write you a huge, big letter next week. At pres- 
ent I have to transact the tragedy business, to wait on the 
Master, to write to Mrs. Southey, Lovell, etc., etc. 

God love you, and 


1 Southey's Poetical Wcrrks, 1837, 2 ggg Letter XLI. p. 110, note 1. 
ii. 94. 



Friday momiag, September 19, 1794. 

My fire was blazing cheerfully — the tea-kettle even 
now boiled over on it. Now sudden sad it looks. But, 
see, it blazes up again as cheerily as ever. Such, dear 
Southey, was the effect of your this morning's letter on 
my heart. Angry, no ! I esteem and confide in you the 
more ; but it did make me sorrowfid. I was blameless ; 
it was therefore only a passing cloud empictured on the 
breast. Surely had I written to you the^rs^ letter you 
directed to me at Cambridge, I would not have believed 
that you could have received it without answering it. 
Still less that you could have given a momentary pain to 
her that loved you. If I could have imagined no 
rational excuse for you, I would have peopled the vacancy 
with events of impossibility ! 

On Wednesday, September 17, 1 arrived at Cambridge. 
Perhaps the very hour you were writing in the severity of 
offended friendship, was I pouring forth the heart to 
Sarah Fricker. I did not call on Caldwell ; I saw no one. 
On the moment of my arrival I shut my door, and wrote 
to her. But why not before ? 

In the first place Miss F. did not authorize me to 
direct immediately to her. It was settled that through 
you in our weekly parcels were the letters to be conveyed. 
The moment I arrived at Cambridge, and all yesterday, 
was I writing letters to you, to your mother, to Lovell, 
etc., to complete a parcel. 

In London I wrote twice to you, intending daily to go 
to Cambridge ; of course I deferred the parcel till then. 
I was taken ill, very ill. I exhausted my finances, and 
ill as I was, I sat dowai and scrawled a few guineas' worth 
of nonsense for the booksellers, which Dyer disposed of 
for me. Languid, sick at heart, in the back room of an 
inn ! Lofty conjunction of circumstances for me to write 


to Miss F. Besides, I told her I should write the moment 
I arrived at Cambridge. I have fulfilled the promise. 
Recollect, Southey, that when you mean to go to a place 
to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, the time that 
intervenes is lost. Had I meant at first to stay in Lon- 
don, a fortnight should not have elapsed without my 
writing to her. If you are satisfied, tell Miss F. that 
you are so, but assign no reasons — I ought not to have 
been suspected. 

The tragedy ^ will be printed in less than a week. I 
shall put my name, because it will sell at least a hundred 
copies in Cambridge. It would appear ridiculous to put 
two names to such a work. But, if you choose it, mention 
it and it shall be done. To every man who praises it, of 
course I give the true biography of it; to those who 
laugh at it, I laugh again, and I am too well known at 
Cambridge to be thought the less of, even though I had 
published James Jennings' Satire. 

Southey ! Precipitance is wrong. There may be too 
high a state of health, perhaps even virtue is liable to a 
plethora. I have been the slave of impulse, the child 
of imbecility. But my inconsistencies have given me a 
tarditude and reluctance to think ill of any one. Having 
been often suspected of wrong when I was altogether 
right, from fellow-feeling I judge not too hastily, and 
from appearances. Your undeviating simplicity of recti- 
tude has made you rapid in decision. Having never 
erred, you feel more indignation at error than^ji;^?/ for it. 
There is phlogiston in your heart. Yet am I grateful 
for it. You would not have written so angrily but for 
the greatness of your esteem and affection. The more 
highly we have been wont to think of a character, the 

^ " A tragedy, of which the first in the text of "An Address on the 

act was written hy S. T. Coleridge." Present War." Condones ad Pqpu- 

See footnote to quotation from " The lum, 1795, p. 66. 
Fall of Robespierre," which occurs 


more pain and irritation we suffer from the discovery of 
its imperfections. My heart is very heavy, much more 
so than when I began to write. 

Yours most fraternally. 



Friday night, September 26, 1794. 

My dear, dear Southey, — I am beyond measure 
distressed and agitated by your letter to Favell. On the 
evening of the Wednesday before last, I arrived in Cam- 
bridge ; that night and the next day I dedicated to 
writing to you, to Miss F., etc. On the Friday I received 
your letter of phlogistic rebuke. I answered it immedi- 
ately, wrote a second letter to Miss F., inclosed them in 
the aforesaid parcel, and sent them off by the mail directed 
to Mrs. Southey, No. 8 Westcott Buildings, Bath. They 
should have arrived on Sunday morning. Perhaps you 
have not heard from Bath ; perhaps — damn perhapses ! 
My God, my God ! what a deal of pain you must have 
suffered before you wrote that letter to Favell. It is an 
Ipswich Fair time, and the Norwich comj)any are theat- 
ricalizing. They are the first provincial actors in the 
kingdom. Much against my wiU, I am engaged to drink 
tea and go to the play with Miss Brunton ^ (Mrs. Merry's 

1 One of six sisters, daughters of Coleridge's Miss Brunton, to whom 
John Brunton of Norwich. Eliza- he sent a poem on the French Revo- 
beth, the eldest of the family, was lution, that is, " The Fall of Robes- 
married in 1791 to Robert Merry pierre," must have been an inter- 
the dramatist, the founder of the mediate sister less known to fame, 
so-called Delia Cruscan school of It is curious to note that " The Right 
poetry. Louisa Brunton, the young- Hon. Lady Craven " was a subscrib- 
est sister, afterwards Countess of er to the original issue of The Friend 
Craven, made her first appearance at in 1809. National Dictionary of 
Covent Garden Theatre on October Biography, articles "Craven" and 
5, 1803, and at most could not have "Merry." Letters of the Lake Poets^ 
been more than twelve or thirteen 1885, p. 455. 
years of age in the autumn of 1794. 


sister). The young lady, and indeed the whole family, 
have taken it into their heads to be very much attached 
to me, though I have known them only six days. The 
father (who is the manager and proprietor of the theatre) 
inclosed in a very polite note a free ticket for the season. 
The young lady is said to be the most literary of the 
beautiful, and the most beautiful of the literatse. It may 
be so ; my faculties and discernments are so completely 
jaundiced by vexation that the Virgin Mary and Mary 
Flanders, alias Moll, would appear in the same hues. 

All last night, I was obliged to listen to the damned 
chatter of our mayor, a fellow that would certainly be a 
pantisocrat, were his head and heart as highly illuminated 
as his face. At present he is a High Churchman, and a 
Pittite, and is guilty (with a very large fortune) of so 
many rascalities in his public character, that he is obliged 
to drink three bottles of claret a day in order to acquire 
a stationary rubor, and prevent him from the trouble of 
running backwards and forwards for a blush once every 
five minutes. In the tropical latitudes of this fellow's 
nose was I obliged to fiy. I wish you would write a 
lampoon upon him — in me it would be unchristian re- 

Our tragedy is printed, all but the title-page. It will 
be complete by Saturday night. 

God love you. I am in the queerest humour in the 
world, and am out of love with everybody. 



October 21, 1794. 

To you alone, Southey, I write the first part of this 
letter. To yourself confine it. 

" Is this handwriting altogether erased from your 
memory ? To whom am I addressing myself ? For 
whom am I now violating the rules of female delicacy ? 


Is it for the same Coleridge, whom I once regarded as a 
sister her best-beloved Brother? Or for one who will 
ridicule that advice from me, which he has rejected as 
offered by his family ? I will hazard the attempt. I 
have no right, nor do I feel myself inclined to reproach 
you for the Past. God forbid ! You have already suf- 
fered too much from self-accusation. But I conjure you, 
Coleridge, earnestly and solemnly conjure'you to consider 
long and deeply, before you enter into any rash schemes. 
There is an Eagerness in your Nature, which is ever hurry- 
ing you in the sad Extreme. I have heard that you mean 
to leave England, and on a Plan so absurd and extrava- 
gant that were I for a moment to imagine it true-i I should 
be obliged to listen with a more patient Ear to sugges- 
tions, which I have rejected a thousand times with scorn 
and anger. Yes! whatever Pain I might suffer, I should 
be forced to exclaim, ' O what a noble mind is here over- 
thrown^ Blasted with ecstacy.' You have a country, does 
it demand nothing of you ? You have doting Friends ! 
Will you break their Hearts ! There is a God — Cole- 
ridge ! Though I have been told (indeed I do not beHeve 
it) that you doubt of his existence and disbelieve a here- 
after. No ! you have too much sensibility to be an Infidel. 
You know I never was rigid in my opinions concerning 
Religion — and have always thought Faith to be only 
Reason applied to a particular subject. In short, I am 
the same Being as when you used to say, ' We thought 
in all things alike.' I often reflect on the happy hours 
we spent together and regret the Loss of your Society. I 
cannot easily forget those whom I once loved — nor can 
I easily form new Friendships. I find women in general 
vain — all of the same Trifle, and therefore little and 
envious, and (I am afraid) without sincerity ; and of the 
other sex those who are offered and held up to my esteem 
are very prudent, and very worldly. If you value my 
peace of mind, you must on no account answer this let- 


ter, or take the least notice of it. I loould not for the 
world any part of my Family should suspect that I have 
written to you. My mind is sadly tempered by being 
perpetually obliged to resist the solicitations of those 
whom I love. I need not explain myself. Farewell, 
Coleridge ! I shall always feel that I have been your 

No name was signed, — it was from Mary Evans. I 
received it about three weeks ago. I loved her, Southey, 
almost to madness. Her image was never absent from 
me for three years, for more than three years. My reso- 
lution has not faltered, but I want a comforter. I have 
done nothing, I have gone into company, I was constantly 
at the theatre here till they left us, I endeavoured to be 
perpetually with Miss Brunton, I even hoped that her 
exquisite beauty and uncommon accomplishments might 
have cured one passion by another. The latter I could 
easily have dissipated in her absence, and so have restored 
my affections to her whom I do not love, but whom by 
every tie of reason and honour I ought to love. I am 
resolved, but wretched I But time shall do much. You 
will easily believe that with such feeKngs I should have 
found it no easy task to write to . I should have de- 
tested myself, if after my first letter I had written coldly 
— how could I write as warmly f I was vexed too and 
alarmed by your letter concerning Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, 
Shad, and little Sally. I was wrong, very wrong, in the 
affair of Shad, and have given you reason to suppose that 
I should assent to the innovation. I will most assuredly go 
with you to America, on this plan, but remember, Southey, 
this is not our plan^ nor can I defend it. " Shad's chil- 
dren will be educated as ours, and the education we shall 
give them will be such as to render them incapable of 
blusliing at the want of it in their parents " — Perhajjs ! 
With this one word would every Lilliputian reasoner de- 
molish the system. Wherever men can be vicious, some 


will be. The leading idea of pantisocracy is to make men 
necessarily virtuous by removing all motives to evil — all 
possible temptation. "Let them dine with us and be 
treated with as much equality as they would wish, but per- 
form that part of labour for which their education has 
fitted them." Southey should not have written this sen- 
tence. My friend, my noble and high-souled friend should 
have said to his dependents, " Be my slaves, and ye shall 
be my equals ; " to his wife and sister, " Resign the name 
of Ladyship and ye shall retain the thing. ''^ Again. Is 
every family to possess one of these unequal equals, 
these Helot Egalites? Or are the few you have men- 
tioned, " with more toil than the peasantry of England 
undergo," to do for all of us " that part of labour which 
their education has fitted them for " ? If your remarks 
on the other side are just, the inference is that the scheme 
of pantisocracy is impracticable, but I hope and believe 
that it is not a necessary inference. Your remark of the 
physical evil in the long infancy of men would indeed 
puzzle a Pangloss — puzzle him to account for the wish 
of a benevolent heart like yours to discover malignancy 
in its Creator. Surely every eye but an eye jaundiced 
by habit of peevish scepticism must have seen that the 
mothers' cares are repaid even to rapture by the mothers' 
endearments, and that the long helplessness of the babe 
is the means of our superiority in the filial and maternal 
affection and duties to the same feelings in the brute crea- 
tion. It is likewise among other causes the means of 
society, that thing which makes them a little lower than 
the angels. If Mrs. S. and Mrs. F. go with us, they can 
at least prepare the food of simplicity for us. Let the 
married women do only what is absolutely convenient 
and customary for pregnant women or nurses. Let the 
husband do all the rest, and what will that all be ? Wash- 
ing with a machine and cleaning the house. One hour's 
addition to our daily labor, and pantisocracy in its most 


perfect sense is practicable. That the greater part of our 
female companions should have the task of maternal ex- 
ertion at the same time is very improbable ; but, though 
it were to happen, an infant is almost always sleeping, 
and during its slumbers the mother may in the same room 
perform the little offices of ironing clothes or making 
shirts. But the hearts of the women are not all with us. 
I do believe that Edith and Sarah are exceptions, but do 
even they know the bill of fare for the day, every duty 
that will be incumbent upon them? 

All necessary knowledge in the branch of ethics is 
comprised in the word justice : that the good of the whole 
is the good of each individual, that, of course, it is each 
individual's duty to be just, because it is his interest. To 
perceive this and to assent to it as an abstract proposition 
is easy, but it requires the most wakeful attentions of the 
most reflective mind in all moments to bring it into prac- 
tice. It is not enough that we have once swallowed it. 
The heart should have/ecZ upon the truth., as insects on a 
leaf, till it be tinged with the colour, and show its food in 
every the minutest fibre. In the book of pantisocracy I 
hope to have comprised all that is good in Godwin, of 
whom and of whose book I will write more fully in my 
next letter (I think not so highly of him as you do, and I 
have read him with the greatest attention). This will 
be an advantage to the minds of our women. 

What have been your feelings concerning the War with 
America, which is now inevitable? To go from Ham- 
burg will not only be a heavy additional expense, but 
dano-erous and uncertain, as nations at war are in the 
habit of examining neutral vessels to prevent the mipor- 
tation of arms and seize subjects of the hostile govern- 
ments. It is said that one cause of the ministers having 
been so cool on the business is that it will prevent emi- 
gration, which it seems would be treasonable to a hostde 
country. TeU me aU you think on these subjects. What 


think you of the difference in the prices of land as stated 
by Cowper from those given by the American agents? 
By all means read, ponder on Cowper, and when I hear 
your thoughts I will give you the result of my own. 

Thou bleedest, my poor Heart ! and thy distress 

Doth Reason ponder with an anguished smile, 

Probing thy sore wound sternly, tho' the while 

Her eye be swollen and dim with heaviness. 

Why didst thou listen to Hope's whisper bland ? 

Or, listening, vfhj forget its healing tale, 

When Jealousy with feverish fancies pale 

Jarr'd thy fine fibres with a maniac's hand ? 

Faint was that Hope, and rayless. Yet 't was fair 

And sooth'd with many a dream the hour of rest : 

Thou should'st have loved it most, when most opprest. 

And nursed it with an agony of care. 

E'en as a mother her sweet infant heir 

That pale and sickly droops upon her breast ! ^ 

When a man is unhappy he writes damned bad poetry, I 
find. My Imitations too depress my spirits — the task is 
arduous, and grows upon me. Instead of two octavo vol- 
umes, to do all I hoped to do two quartos woidd hardly 
be sufficient. 

Of your poetry I will send you a minute critique, when 
I send you my proposed alterations. The sonnets are ex- 
quisite.^ Banquo is not what it deserves to be. Towards 
the end it grows very flat, wants variety of imagery — 
you dwell too long on Mary, yet have made less of her 
than I expected. The other figures are not sufficiently 
distinct ; indeed, the plan of the ode (after the first forty 
lines which are most truly sublime) is so evident an imi- 
tation of Gray's Descent of Odin, that I would rather 

^ This sonnet, afterwards headed, Poetical Works, p. 34. See, too, Ed- 
" On a Discovery made too late," was itor's Note, p. 571. 
"first printed in Poems, 1796, as ^ "The Race of Banqno." Sou- 
Effusion XIX., but in the Contents they's Poetical Works, 1837, ii. 155. 
it was called, ' To my own Heart.' " 


adopt Shakespeare's mode of introducing the figures them- 
selves, and making the description now the Witches' and 
now Fleance's. I detest monodramas, but I never wished 
to establish my judgment on the throne of critical despot- 
ism. Send me up the Elegy on the Exiled Patriots and 
the Scripture Sonnets. I have promised them to Flower .^ 
The first will do good, and more good in a paper than in 
any other vehicle. 

My thoughts are floating about in a most chaotic state. 
I had almost determined to go down to Bath, and stay 
two days, that I might say everything I wished. You 
mean to acquaint your aunt with the scheme ? As she 
knows it, and knows that you know that she knows it, 
justice cannot require it, but if your own comfort makes 
it necessary, by all means do it, with all possible gentle- 
ness. She has loved you tenderly ; be firm, therefore, as 
a rock, mild as the lamb. I sent a hundred " Robes- 
pierres " to Bath ten days ago and more. 

Five hundred copies of " Robespierre " were printed. A 
hundred [went] to Bath ; a hundred to Kearsley, in Lon- 
don ; twenty-five to March, at Norwich ; thirty I have sold 
privately (twenty-five of these thirty to Dyer, who found 
it inconvenient to take fifty). The rest are dispersed 
among the Cambridge booksellers ; the delicacies of aca- 
demic gentlemanship prevented me from disposing of more 
than the five propria persona. Of course we only get 
ninepence for each copy from the booksellers. I expected 
that Mr. Field wordd have sent for fifty, but have heard 
nothing of it. I sent a copy to him, with my respects, 
and have made presents of six more. How they sell in 
London, I know not. All that are in Cambridge will 
sell — a great many are sold. I have been blamed for 
publishing it, considering the more important work I have 
offered to the public. N'importe. 'T is thought a very 
aristocratic performance; you may suppose how hyper- 

1 The Editor of the Cambridge Intelligencer. 


democratic my character must have been. The expenses 
of paper, printing, and advertisements are nearly nine 
pounds. We ought to have charged one shilling and six- 
pence a copy. 

I presented a copy to Miss Brunton with these verses 
in the blank leaf : ^ — 

Much on my early youth I love to dwell, 

Ere yet I bade that guardian dome farewell, 

Where first beneath the echoing cloisters pale, 

I heard of guilt and wondered at the tale ! 

Yet though the hours flew by on careless wing 

Full heavily of Sorrow would I sing. 

Aye, as the star of evening flung its beam 

In broken radiance on the wavy stream, 

My pensive soul amid the twilight gloom 

Mourned with the breeze, Lee Boo ! o'er thy tomb. 

Whene'er I wander'd, Pity still was near, 

Breath'd from the heart, and glitter'd in the tear : 

No knell, that toll'd, but fill'd my anguish'd eye, 

" And suffering Nature wept that one should die ! " 

Thus to sad sympathies I sooth'd my breast. 

Calm as the rainbow in the weeping West : 

When slumb'ring Freedom rous'd by high Disdain 

With giant fury burst her triple chain ! 

Fierce on her front the blasting Dog star glow'd ; 

Her banners, like a midnight meteor, flow'd ; 

Amid the yelling of the storm-rent skies 

She came, and scatter'd battles from her eyes ! 

Then Exultation woke the patriot fire 

And swept with wilder hand th' empassioned lyre ; 

Red from the Tyrants' wounds I shook the lance, 

And strode in joy the reeking plains of France ! 

In ghastly horror lie th' oppressors low, 

And my Heart akes tho' Mercy struck the blow ! 

With wearied thought I seek the amaranth Shade 

^ " To a Young Lady, with a Poem on the French Revolution." Poet- 
ical Works ^ p. 6. 


Where peaceful Virtue weaves her myrtle braid. 
And O ! if Eyes, whose holy glances roll 
The eloquent Messengers of the pure soul ; 
If Smiles more cunning and a gentler Mien, 
Than the love-wilder'd Maniac's brain hath seen 
Shaping celestial forms in vacant air, 
If these demand the wond'ring Poets' care — 
If Mirth and soften'd Sense, and Wit refin'd, 
The blameless features of a lovely mind ; 
Then haply shall my trembling hand assign 
'^o fading flowers to Beauty's saintly shrine. 
Nor, Brunton ! thou the blushing Wreath refuse, 
Though harsh her notes, yet guileless is my Muse. 
Unwont at Flattery's Voice to plume her wings. 
A child of Nature, as she feels, she sings. 

S. T. C. 
Jes. Coll., Cambrldge. 

Till I dated this letter I never recollected that yesterday- 
was my birthday — twenty-two years old. 

I have heard from my brothers — from him particularly 
who has been friend, brother, father. 'T was all remon- 
strance and anguish, and suggestions that I am deranged ! 
Let me receive from you a letter of consolation ; for, 
believe me, I am completely wretched. 

Yours most affectionately, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


November, 1194. 
My feeble and exhausted heart regards with a criminal 
indifference the introduction of servitude into our society ; 
but my judgment is not asleep, nor can I suffer your rea- 
son, Southey, to be entangled in the web which your feel- 
ings have woven. Oxen and horses possess not intellec- 
tual appetites, nor the powers of acquiring them. We are 
therefore justified in employing their labour to our own 
benefit : mind hath a divine right of sovereignty over body. 


But who shall dare to transfer " from man to brute " to 
" from man to man " ? To be employed in the toil of the 
field, while loe are pursuing philosophical studies — can 
earldoms or emperorships boast so huge an inequality ? Is 
there a human being of so torpid a nature as that placed 
in our society he would not feel it ? A willing slave is 
the worst of slaves ! His soul is a slave. Besides, I must 
own myself incapable of perceiving even the temporary 
convenience of the proposed innovation. The men do not 
want assistance, at least none that Shad can particularly 
give ; and to the women, what assistance can little Sally, 
the wife of Shad, give more than any other of our married 
women ? Is she to have no domestic cares of her own ? 
No house? No husband to provide for? No children? 
Because Mr. and Mrs. Roberts are not likely to have 
children, I see less objection to their accompanying us. 
Indeed, indeed, Southey, I am fearful that Lushing-ton's 
prophecy may not be altogether vain. " Your system, 
Coleridge, appears strong to the head and lovely to the 
heart ; but depend upon it, you will never give your women 
sufficient strength of mind, liberality of heart, or vigilance 
of attention. They will spoil it." 

I am extremely unwell ; have run a nail into my heel, 
and before me stand " Embrocation for the throbbing of 
the head," " To be shaked up well that the ether may 
mix," " A wineglass full to be taken when faint." 'Sdeath ! 
how I hate the labels of apothecary's bottles. Ill as I 
am, I must go out to supper. Farewell for a few hours. 

'T is past one o'clock in the morning. I sat down at 
twelve o'clock to read the " Robbers " of Schiller.^ I had 
read, chill and trembling, when I came to the part where 
the Moor fixes a pistol over the robbers who are asleep. 
I could read no more. My God, Southey, who is this 
Schiller, this convulser of the heart? Did he write his 
tragedy amid the yelling of fiends ? I should not like to be 

1 Compare " Sonnet to the Author of The Robbers." Poetical Works, 
p. 34. 


able to describe such characters. I tremble like an aspen 
leaf. Upon my soul, I write to you because I am fright- 
ened. I had better go to bed. Why have we ever called 
Milton sublime ? that Count de Moor horrible wielder 
of heart- withering virtues? Satan is scarcely qualified to 
attend his execution as gallows chaplain. 

Tuesday morning. — I have received your letter. Pot- 
ter of Emanuel ^ drives me up to town in his phaeton on 
Saturday morning. I hope to be with you by Wednesday 
week. Potter is a " Son of Soul " — a poet of liberal sen- 
timents in politics — yet (would you believe it ?) possesses 
six thousand a year independent. 

I feel grateful to you for your sympathy. There is a 
feverish distemperature of brain, during which some hor- 
rible phantom threatens our eyes in every corner, until, 
emboldened by terror, we rush on it, and then — why then 
we return, the heart indignant at its own palpitation ! 
Even so will the greater part of our mental miseries van- 
ish before an effort. Whatever of mind we ivill to do, we 
can do ! What, then, palsies the will ? The joy of grief. 
A mysterious pleasure broods with dusky wings over the 
tumultuous mind, " and the Spirit of God moveth on the 
darkness of the waters." She teas very lovely, Southey ! 
We formed each other's minds ; our ideas were blended. 
Heaven bless her ! I cannot forget her. Every day her 
memory sinks deeper into my heart. 

1 The date of this letter is fixed to Mary Evans, which must have 
by that of Thursday, November 6, been written a day or two later, he 
to George Coleridge. Both letters says, " I return to Cambridge to- 
speak of a journey to town with Pot- morrow." From the date of the let- 
ter of Emanuel, but in writing to his ter to George Coleridge of Novem- 
brother he says nothing of a pro- ber 6 to December 11 there is a 
jected visit to Bath. There is no break in the correspondence with 
hint in either letter that he had Southey, but from a statement in 
made up his mind to leave the Uni- Letter XLIII. it appears plain that 
versity for good and all. In a letter a visit was paid to the West in De- 
to Southey dated December 17, he cember, 1794. But whether he re- 
says that " they are making a row turned to Cambridge November 8, 
about him at Jesus," and in a letter and for how long, is uncertain. 


Nutrito vulnere tabens 
Impatiensque mei feror undique, solus et excors, 
Et desideriis pascor! 

I wish, Southey, in the stern severity o£ judgment, that 
the two mothers were not to go, and that the children 
stayed with them. Are you wounded by my want of feel- 
ing ? No ! how highly must I think of your rectitude of 
soul, that I should dare to say this to so affectionate a son ! 
Tliat Mrs. Fricker! We shall have her teaching the in- 
fants Christianity^ — I mean, that mongrel whelp that 
goes under its name, — teaching them by stealth in some 
ague fit of superstition. 

There is little danger of my being confined. Advice 
offered with respect from a brother ; affected coldness, an 
assumed alienation mixed with involuntary bursts of an- 
guish and disappointed affection; questions concerning 
the mode in which I would have it mentioned to my aged 
mother — these are the daggers which are plunged into 
my peace. Enough ! I should rather be offering conso- 
lation to your sorrows than be wasting my feelings in ego- 
tistic complaints. " Verily my complaint is bitter, yet my 
stroke is heavier than my groaning." 

God love you, my dear Southey ! 


A friend of mine hath lately departed this life in a 
frenzy fever induced by anxiety. Poor fellow, a child 
of frailty like me ! Yet he was amiable. I poured forth 
these incondite lines ^ in a moment of melancholy dissatis- 
faction : — 

! tliy grave with aching eye I scan, 

And inly groan for Heaven's poor outcast — Man ! 
'T is tempest all, or gloom ! In earliest youth 

1 " Lines on a Friend who died poem was sent on November 6 to 
of a Frenzy Fever," etc. Poetical George Coleridge. 
Works, p. 35. A copy of the same 


If gifted with th' Ithuriel lance of Truth 

He force to start amid the feign'd caress 

Vice, siren-hag, in native ugliness ; 

A brother's fate shall haply rouse the tear, 

And on he goes in heaviness and fear ! 

But if his fond heart call to Pleasure's bower 

Some pigmy Folly in a careless hour. 

The faithless Guest quick stamps th' enchanted ground. 

And mingled forms of Misery threaten round : 

Heart-fretting Fear, with pallid look aghast, 

That courts the future woe to hide the past ; 

Remorse, the poison'd arrow in his side, 

And loud lewd Mirth to Anguish close allied ; 

Till Frenzy, frantic child of moping Pain, 

Darts her hot lightning-flash athwart the brain ! 

Rest, injur'd Shade ! shall Slander, squatting near, 

Spit her cold venom in a dead man's ear ? 

'T was thine to feel the sympathetic glow 

In Merit's joy and Poverty's meek woe : 

Thine all that cheer the moment as it flies. 

The zoneless Cares and smiling Courtesies. 

Nurs'd in thy heart the generous Virtues grew. 

And in thy heart they wither'd ! such chill dew 

Wan Indolence on each young blossom shed ; 

And Vanity her filmy network spread, 

With eye that prowl'd around in asking gaze, 

And tongue that trafiicked in the trade of praise ! 

Thy follies such the hard world mark'd them well. 

Were they more wise, the proud who never fell ? 

Rest, injur'd Shade ! the poor man's grateful prayer, 

On heavenward wing, thy wounded soul shaU bear ! 

As oft in Fancy's thought thy grave I pass, 
And sit me down upon its recent grass. 
With introverted eye I contemplate 
Similitude of soul — perhaps of fate ! 
To me hath Heaven with liberal hand assign'd 
Energic reason and a shaping mind. 


The daring soul of Truth, the patriot's part, 
And Pity's sigh, that breathes the gentle heart — 
Sloth-jaundiced all ! and from my graspless hand 
Drop Friendship's precious pearls, like hour-glass sand. 
I weep, yet stoop not ! the faint anguish flows, 
A dreamy pang in Morning's fev'rish doze ! 

Is that pil'd earth our Being's passless mound ? 

Tell me, cold Grave ! is Death with poppies crown'd ? 

Tir'd Sentinel ! with fitful starts I nod, 

And fain would sleep, though pUlow'd on a clod ! 


When Youth his fairy reign began -^ 
Ere Sorrow had proclaim'd me Man ; 
While Peace the preseiit hour beguil'd, 
And all the lovely Prospect smil'd ; 
Then, Mary, mid my lightsome glee 
I heav'd the painless Sigh for thee ! 

And when, along the wilds of woe 
My harass'd Heart was doom'd to know 
The frantic burst of Outrage keen, 
And the slow Pang that gnaws unseen ; 
Then shipwreck'd on Life's stormy sea 
I heav'd an anguish'd Sigh for thee ! 

But soon Reflection's hand imprest 
A stiller sadness on my breast ; 
And sickly Hope with waning eye 
Was well content to droop and die : 
I yielded to the stern decree. 
Yet heav'd the languid Sigh for thee ! 

And though in distant climes to roam, 
A wanderer from my native home, 
I fain would woo a gentle Fair 

1 " The Sigh." Poetical Works, p. 29. 


To soothe the aching sense of care, 
Thy Image may not banish'd be — 
Still, Mary ! still I sigh for thee ! 

S. T. C. 
God love you. 


Autumn, 1794. 
Last night, dear Southey, I received a special invitation 
from Dr. Edwards ^ (the great Grecian of Cambridge and 
heterodox divine) to drink tea and spend the evening. I 
there met a councillor whose name is Lushington, a dem- 
ocrat, and a man of the most powerful and Briarean intel- 
lect. I was challenged on the subject of pantisocracy, 
which is, indeed, the universal topic at the University. A 
discussion began and continued for six hours. In conclu- 
sion, Lushington and Edwards declared the system im- 
pregnable, supposing the assigned quantum of virtue and 
genius in the first individuals. I came home at one o'clock 
this morning in the honest consciousness of having exhib- 
ited closer argument in more elegant and appropriate lan- 
guage than I had ever conceived myself capable of. Then 
my heart smote me, for I saw your letter on the propriety 
of taking servants with us. I had answered that letter, 
and feel conviction that you will ^9erce^^'e the error into 
which the tenderness of your nature had led you. But 
other queries obtruded themselves on my understanding. 
The more perfect our system is, supposing the necessary 
premises, the more eager in anxiety am I that the neces- 
sary premises exist. O for that Lyncean eye that can dis- 
cover in the acorn of Error the rooted and widely spread- 
ing oak of Misery ! Quasre : should not all who mean to 

^ Probably Thomas Edwards, on the Limits and Importance of Free 

LL. D., a Fellow of Jesus College, Inquiry in Matters of Religion," 

Cambridge, editor of Phitareh, De 1792. Natural Dictionary of Bio- 

Educatione Liberorum, with notes, graphy, xvii. 130. 
1791, and author of " A Discourse 


become members of our community be incessantly melior- 
ating their temper and elevating tbeir understandings? 
Qu. : whether a very respectable quantity of acquired 
knowledge (History, Politics, above all. Metaphysics^ with- 
out which no man caii reason but with women and chil- 
dren) be not a prerequisite to the improvement of the head 
and heart ? Qu. : whether our Women have not been 
taught by us habitually to contemplate the littleness of 
individual comforts and a passion for the novelty of the 
scheme rather than a generous enthusiasm of Benevolence ? 
Are they saturated with the Divinity of Truth sufficiently 
to be always wakeful ? In the present state of their minds, 
whether it is not probable that the Motliers will tinge the 
minds of the infants with prejudication ? The questions 
are meant merely as motives to you, Southey, to the 
strengthening the minds of the Women, and stimulating 
them to literary acquirements. But, Southey, there are 
Children going with us. Why did I never dare in my 
disputations with the unconvinced to hint at this circmn- 
stance ? Was it not because I knew, even to certainty of 
conviction, that it is subversive of rational hopes of a per- 
manent system ? These children, — the little Frickers, for 
instance, and your brothers, — are they not ah'eady deeply 
tinged with the prejudices and errors of society ? Have 
they not learned from their schoolfellows Fear and Self- 
ishness, of which the necessary offsprings are Deceit and 
desultory Hatred ? How are we to prevent them from in- 
fecting the minds of our children ? By reforming their 
judgments? At so early an age, can they have /e/^ the 
ill consequences of their errors in a manner sufficiently 
vivid to make this reformation practicable ? How can we 
insure their silence concerning God, etc.? Is it possible 
they should enter into our motives for this silence ? If not, 
we must produce their Ohedience by Terror. Ohedience ? 
Terror ? The repetition is sufficient. I need not inform 
you that they are as inadequate as inapplicable. I have told 


you, Southey, that I will accompany you on an imperfect 
system. But must our system be tlius necessarily imper- 
fect ? I ask the question that I may know whether or not 
I should write the Book of Pantisocracy. 

I received your letter of Oyez ; it brought a smile on a 
countenance that for these three weeks has been cloudy 
and stern in its solitary hours. In company, wit and 
laughter are Duties. Slovenly ? I could mention a lady 
of fashionable rank, and most fashionable ideas, who de- 
clared to Caldwell that I (S. T. Coleridge) was a man of 
the most courtly and polished manners, of the most gen- 
tlemanly address she had ever met with. But I will not 
crow! Slovenly, indeed! 


Thursday, November 6, 1794. 

My dear Brother, — Your letter of this morning 
gave me inexpressible consolation. I thought that I 
perceived in your last the cold and freezing features of 
ahenated affection. Surely, said I, I have trifled with 
the spirit of love, and it has passed away from me ! 
There is a vice of such powerfid venom, that one grain of 
it will poison the overflowing goblet of a thousand ^drtues. 
This vice constitution seems to have implanted in me, and 
habit has made it almost Omnipotent. It is indolence ! ^ 
Hence, whatever web of friendship my presence may have 
woven, my absence has seldom failed to unravel. Anxie- 
ties that stimulate others infuse an additional narcotic 
into my mind. The appeal of duty to my judgment, and 
the pleadings of affection at my heart, have been heard 

indeed, and heard with deep regard. Ah ! that they had 

^ Compare " Lines on a Friend," 

etc., which accompanied this letter. Sloth-jaundiced all ! aoid from my grasp- 

less hand 
To me hath Heaven with liberal hand '^^'^V Friendship's precious pearls, like 

assigned hour-glass sand. 

Energic reason and a shaping mind, , IrottlcaL \\ orks, p. OO. 


been as constantly obeyed. But so it has been. Like 
some poor labourer, whose night's sleep has but imperfectly 
refreshed his overwearied frame, I have sate in drowsy 
uneasiness, and doing notliing have thought what a deal 
I had to do. But I trust that the kingdom of reason is 
at hand, and even now cometh ! 

IIow often and how unkindly are the ebullitions of 
youthful disputations mistaken for the residt of fixed 
principles. People have resolved that I am a democrat, 
and accordingly look at everything I do through the 
spectacles of prejudication. In the feverish distempera- 
ture of a bigoted aristocrat's brain, some phantom of 
Dr^mocracy threatens him in every corner of my writings. 

And Hubert's atheist crew, whose maddening hand 
Hurl'd down the altars of the living God 
With all the infidel intolerance.^ 

" Are these lines in character^'' observed a sensible 
friend of mine, " in a speech on the death of the man 
whom it just became the fashion to style ' The ambitious 
Theocrat ' .^ " " I fear wo^," was my answer, " I gave way 
to my feelings." The first speech of Adelaide,^ whose 
Automaton is this character ? Who spoke through Le 
Gendre's mouth,^ when he says, " Oh, w^hat a precious 
name is Liberty To scare or cheat the smiple into 
slaves " ? But in several parts I have, it seems, in the 
strongest language boasted the impossibility of subdu- 
ing France. Is not this sentiment higldy characteristic? 
Is it forced into the mouths of the speakers ? Could I 

^ The lines occur in Barr^re's We 've bought the seeming good ! The 
speech, which concludes the third peaceful virtues 

, rr , v u 17 11 c Ti 1 • )) -A-nd everyblaudishment of private life, 

act 01 the i^ail or Kobespierre. " m, r ,., , ^, ^, , , , 

„ . , ij^ , ,,,„ ^ The father's care, the mother's fond en- 

Poetical M'orlcs, p. J2d. dearmeut 

2 " Fall of Robespierre," Act I. All sacrificed to Liberty's wild riot. 

1. 198. Poetical Works, p. 215. 

^ See " Fall of Robespierre," Act 

O this new freedom ! at how dear a price I. 1. 40. Poetical Works, p. 212. 


have even omitted it without evident absurdity? But, 
granted that it is my own opinion, is it an anti-pacific one ? 
I should have cLassed it among the anti-polemics. Again, 
are all who entertain and express this opinion d>?mocrats ? 
God forbid ! They would be a formidable party indeed ! 
I know many violent anti-reformists, who are as violent 
against the %var on the ground that it may introduce that 
reform, which they (perhaps not unwisely) imagine would 
chant the dirge of our constitution. Solemnly, my brother, 
I tell you, I am not a democrat. I see, evidently, that the 
present is not the highest state of society of which we are 
ca'pahle. And after a diligent, I may say an intense, study 
of Locke, Hartley, and others who have written most wisely 
on the nature of man, I appear to myself to see the point 
of possible perfection, at which the world may perhaps be 
destined to arrive. But how to lead mankind from one 
point to the other is a process of such infinite complex- 
ity, that in deep-felt humility I resign it to that Being 
" Who shaketh the Earth out of her place, and the pillars 
thereof tremble," " Who purifieth with Whirlwinds, and 
maketh the Pestilence his Besom," Who hath said, " that 
violence shall no more be heard of ; the people shall not 
build and another inhabit ; they shall not plant and 
another eat ; " " the wolf and the lamb shall feed together." 
I have been asked what is the best conceivable mode of 
meliorating society. My answer has been this : " Slavery 
is an abomination to my feeling of the head and the heart. 
Did Jesus teach the abolition of it ? No ! He taught 
those principles of which the necessary effect was to 
abolish all slavery. He prepared the mind for the recep- 
tion before he poured the blessing." You ask me what 
the friend of universal equality should do. I answer : 
" Talk not politics. Preach the Gospel I " 

Yea, my brother! I have at all times in all places ex- 
erted my power in the defence of the Holy One of Nazareth 
against the learning of the historian, the libertinism of 


the wit, and (his worst enemy) the mystery of the bigot ! 
But I am an infidel, because I cannot thrust my head 
into a mud gutter, and say, " How deep I am ! " And 
I am a d>?mocrat, because I will not join in the male- 
dictions of the despotist — because I will hless all men 
and ciirse no one ! I have been a fool even to madness ; 
and I am, therefore, an excellent hit for calumny to aim 
her poisoned prohabilities at! As the poor flutterer, 
who by hard struggling has escaped from the bird-limed 
thornbush, still bears the clammy incumbrance on his feet 
and wings, so I am doomed to carry about with me the 
sad mementos of past inij)rudence and anguish from 
which I have been impei'fectly released. 

Mr. Potter of Emanuel drives me up to town in his 
phaeton, on Saturday morning. Of course I shall see you 
on Sunday. Poor Smerdon ! the reports concerning his 
literary plagiarism (as far as concerns iny assistance) are 
falsehoods. I have felt much for him, and on the morn- 
ing I received your letter I poured forth these incondite 
rhymes. Of course they are meant for a brother's eye. 

Smerdon ! thy grave with aching eye I scan, etc.-^ 

God love you, dear brother, and your affectionate and 



December 11, 1T94. 

My dear Southey, — I sit do\\Ti to MTite to you, not 
that I have anything particular to say, but it is a relief, 
and forms a very respectable part in my theory of '' Es- 
capes from the Folly of Melancholy." I am so habituated 
to philosophizing that I cannot divest myself of it, even 
when my own wretchedness is the subject. I appear to 

1 For full text of the " Lines on Ter," See Letter XXXVIII. See, 
a Friend who died of a Frenzy Fe- too. Poetical Works, p. 35. 




myself like a sick physician, feeling the pang acutely, yet 
deriving a wonted pleasure from examining its progress 
and developing its causes. 

Your poems and Bowles' are my only morning com- 
panions. " The Retrospect ! " ^ Quod qui non jjrorsus 
amat et dei^erit, ilium omnes et virtutes et veneres odere ! 
It is a most lovely poem, and in the next edition of your 
works shall be a perfect one. The " Ode to Romance " ^ 

1 Southey's Poetical Works, 1837, 
ii. 263. 

2 See Poems by Robert Lovell, and 
Robert Southey of Balliol College. 
Bath. Printed by A. Cruttwell, 1795, 
p. 17. " Ode to Lycon," p. 77. 

The last stanza runs thus : — 

Wilt thou float careless down the stream 
of time, 
In sadness borne to dull oblivious shore, 
Or shake off grief, and " build the lofty- 
And live till time shall be no more ? 
If thy light bark have met the storms. 

If threatening cloud the sky deforms. 
Let honest truth be vain ; look back on 
Have I been " sailing on a Summer sea " ? 
Have only zephyrs fill'd my swelling sails, 
As smooth the gentle vessel glides 
along ? 
Lycon ! I met unscar'd the wintry gales, 

And sooth'd the dangers with the song : 
So shall the vessel sail sublime, 
And reach the port of fame adown the 
stream of time. 

BioN \i. e. R. S.]- 
Compare the following unpub- 
lished letter from Southey to Miss 
Sarah Frieker : — 

October 18, 1794. 
" Amid the pelting of the pitiless 
stopm" did I, Kobert Southey, the 
Apostle of Pantisoeracy, depart 
from the city of Bristol, my natal 
place — at the hour of five in a wet 
windy evenmg on the 17th of October, 

1794, wrapped up in my father's old 
great coat and my own cogitations. 
Like old Lear I did not call the ele- 
ments unkind, — and on I passed, 
musing on the lamentable effects of 
pride and prejudice — retracing all 
the events of my past life — and 
looking forward to the days to come 
with pleasure. 

Three miles from Bristol, an old 
man of sixty, most royally drunk, 
laid hold of my arm, and begged we 
might join company, as he was 
going to Bath. I consented, for he 
wanted assistance, and dragged this 
foiil animal through the dirt, wind, 
and rain ! . . . 

Think of me, with a mind so 
fully occupied, leading this man 
nine miles, and had I not led him 
he would have lain down under a 
hedge and probably perished. 

I reached not Bath till nine 
o'clock, when the rain pelted me 
most unmercifully in the face. I re- 
joiced that my friends at Bath knew 
not where I was, and was once 
vexed at thinking that you would 
hear it drive against the window 
and be sorry for the way-worn trav- 
eller. Here I am, well, and satisfied 
with my own conduct. . . . 

My clothes are arrived. " I will 
never see his face again [writes Miss 


is tlie best of the odes. I dislike that to Lycon, except- 
ing the last stanza, which is superlatively fine. The 
phrase of "let honest truth be vain" is obscure. Of 
your blank verse odes, " The Death of Mattathias " ^ is by 
far the best. That you should ever write another, Pul- 
clier Apollo veta / Musce prohibete veiiustoe 1 They 
are to poetry what dumb-bells are to music ; they can be 
read only for exercise, or to make a man tired that he 
may be sleepy. The sonnets are wonderfully inferior to 
those which I possess of yours, of which that " To Valen- 
tine "^ ("If long and lingering seem one little day The 
motley crew of travellers among ") ; that on " The Fire " ^ 
(not your last, a very so-so one) ; on " The Rainbow " * 
(particidarly the four last lines), and two or three others, 
are all divine and fully equal to Bowles. Some parts of 
"Miss Rosamund " ^ are beautifid — the icorhing scene, 
and that line with which the poem ought to have con- 
cluded, " And think who lies so cold and pale below." 
Of the "Pauper's Funeral,"^ that part in which you have 
done me the honour to imitate me is by far the worst ; the 

Tyler], and, if he writes, will return Southey's Life and Correspondence, 

his letters unoijened ; " to comment i. 222. 

on this would be useless. I feel ^ Poems, 1T95, p. 123. 

that strong conviction of rectitude " See Southey''s Poetical Works, 

which would make me smile on the 1837, ii. 91 : — 

rack. . . . The crisis is over — things ♦' if heavily creep on one little day, 

are as they should be; my mother Themedley crew of travellers among." 

vexes herself much, yet feels she is 3 Poems 1T95 v 67 

right. Hostilities are commenced i Poetical TTVis, 1837, ii. 92 

with America! so we must go to 5 "Rosamund to Henry; written 

some neutral fort - Hambro' or ^f^er she had taken the veil." 

^*^"''^^- Poems, 1795, p. 85. 

Your sister is well, and sends her 6 Poetical Works, 1837, ii. 216. 

love to all; on Wednesday I hope Southey appears to have accepted 

to see you. Till then farewell, Coleridge's emendations. Thevaria- 

RoBERT SouTHEy. tious between the text of the '" Pau- 

Bath, Sunday morning. per's Funeral " and the editio pur- 

Compare, also, letter to Thomas ^^|^ f , *^' ^''^'' *"" '^'^^^ ^""^ 
Southey, dated October 19, 1794. ""^^P°^ ^^ • 


thought has been so much better expressed by Gray. On 
the whole (like many of yours), it wants compactness 
and totality ; the same thought is repeated too frequently 
in different words. That all these faults may be reme- 
died by compression, my editio purgata of the poem 
shall show you. 

What ! and not one to heave the pious sigh ? 

Not one whose sorrow-swoln and aching eye, 

For social scenes, for life's endearments fled, 

Shall drop a tear and dwell upon the dead ? 

Poor wretched Outcast ! I will sigh for thee, 

And sorrow for forlorn humanity ! 

Yes, I will sigh ! hut not that thou art come 

To the stern Sabbath of the silent tomb : 

For squalid Want and the black scorpion Care, 

(Heart-withering fiends) shall never enter there. 

I sorrow for the iUs thy life has known, 

As through the world's long pilgrimage, alone. 

Haunted by Poverty and woe-begone, 

Unloved, unfriended, thou didst journey on ; 

Thy youth in ignorance and labour past. 

And thy old age all barrenness and blast ! 

Hard was thy fate, which, while it doom'd to woe, 

Denied thee wisdom to support the blow ; 

And robb'd of all its energy thy mind. 

Ere yet it cast thee dn thy fellow-kind. 

Abject of thought, the victim of distress. 

To wander in the world's Avide wilderness. 

Poor Outcast ! sleep in peace ! The winter's storm 

Blows bleak no more on thy unsheltered form ! 

Thy woes are past ; thou restest in the tomb ; — ■ 

I pause . . . and ponder on the days to come. 

Now ! Is it not a beautiful poem ? Of the sonnet, 
" No more the visionary soul shall dwell," ^ I wrote the 

1 In a letter from Southey to his our emigration " is attributed to Fa- 
brother Thomas, dated October 21, veil, a convert to pantisocracy who 
1794, this sonnet " on the subject of was still at Christ's Hospital. The 


whole but the second and third lines. Of the " Old Man 
in the Snow," ^ ten last lines entirely, and part of the 
four first. Those ten lines are, perhaps, the best I ever 
did write. 

Lovell has no taste or simplicity of feeling. I remarked 
that when a man read Lovell's poems he mus cus (that is 
a rapid way of pronouncing "must curse"), but when he 
thought of Southey's, he 'd " buy on ! " For God's sake 
let us have no more Bions or Gracchus's. I abominate 
them ! Southey is a name much more j^roper and hand- 
some, and, I venture to prophesy, will be more famous. 
Your " Chapel Bell " 2 I love, and have made it, by a few 
alterations and the omission of one stanza (which, though 
beautiful quoad se, interrupted the run of the thought 
" I love to see the aged spirit soar "), a perfect poem. As 
it followed the " Exiled Patriots," I altered the second 
and fourth lines to, " So freedom taught, in high- voiced 
minstrel's weed ; " " For cap and gown to leave the pa- 
triot's meed." 

The last verse noiu runs thus : — 

" But thou, Memorial of monastic gall ! 

What fancy sad or lightsome hast thou given ? 
Thy vision-scaring sounds alone recall 

The prayer that trembles on a yawn to Heaven, 
And this Dean's gape, &ni.that Dean's nasal tone." 

Would not this be a fine subject for a wild ode ? 

St. Witliold footed thrice the Oulds, 
He met the nightmare and her nine foals ; 
He bade her alight and her troth plight, 
And, " Aroynt thee, Witch ! " he said. 

first eight lines are included in the he acknowledges that he was " in- 

" Monody on Chatterton." See Po- dehted to Mr. Favell for the rough 

etical Works, p. 03, and Editor's sketch." See Poetical Works, p. 45, 

Note, p. 563. and Editor's Note, p. 516. 

1 Printed as Effusion XVI. in ^ Southey's Poetical Works, ii. 143. 

Poems, 1796. It was afterwards In this instance Coleridge's correc- 

headed " Charity." In the preface tions were not adopted. 


I shall set about one when I am in a humour to abandon 
myself to all the cliableries that ever met the eye of a 
Fuseli ! 

Le Grice has jumbled together all the quaint stupidity 
he ever wrote, amounting to about thirty pages, and pub- 
lished it in a book about the size and dimensions of chil- 
dren's twopenny books. The dedication is pretty. He 
calls the publication " Tineum ; " ^ for what reason or 
with what meaning would give Madame Sphinx a com- 
plete victory over Q^dipus. 

A wag has handed about, I hear, an obtuse angle of 
wit, under the name of " An Epigram." 'T is almost as 
bad as the subject, 

" A tiny man of tiny wit 

A tiny book has published. 
But not alas ! one tiny bit 
His tiny fame established." 


My heart has thank'd thee, Bowles ! for those soft strains, 

That, on the still air floating, tremblingly 

Woke in me Fancy, Love, and Sympathy ! 

For hence, not callous to a Brother's pains 

Thro' Youth's gay prime and thornless paths I went ; 

And when the darher day of life began. 

And I did roam, a thought-bewildered man ! 

Thy kindred Lays an healing solace lent, 

Each lonely pang with dreamy joys combin'd. 

And stole from vain Regret her scorpion stings ; 

While shadowy Pleasure, with mysterious wings. 

Brooded the wavy and tumultuous mind, 

Like that great Spirit, who with plastic sweep 

Mov'd on the darkness of the formless Deep ! 

Of the following sonnet, the four laat lines were writ- 
ten by Lamb, a man of uncommon genius. Have you 

^ Published in 1794. ing Chronicle, December 26, 1794. 

"^ First version, printed in Morn- See Poetical Works, p. 40. 


seen liis divine sonnet of " O ! I could laugh to hear the 
winter winds," etc. ? 


gentle look, that didst my soul beguile, 

Why hast thou left me ? Still in some fond dream 
Revisit my sad heart, auspicious smile ! 
As falls on closing flowers the lunar beam ; 
What time in sickly mood, at parting day 

1 lay me down and think of happier years ; 
Of joys, that glimmered in Hoi^e's twilight ray, 
Then left me darkling in a vale of tears. 

O jDleasant days of Hope — for ever flown ! 

Could I recall one ! — But that thought is vain, 

Availeth not Persuasion's sweetest tone 

To lure the fleet-winged travellers hack again : 

Anon, they haste to everlasting night, 

Nor can a giant's arm arrest them in their flight. 

The four last lines are beautiful, but tliey have no par- 
ticular meaning which " that thought is vain " does not 
convey. And I cannot write without a hody of thought. 
Hence my poetry is crowded and sweats beneath a heavy 
burden of ideas and imagery ! It has seldom ease. The 
little song ending with " I lieav'd the painless sigh for 
thee ! " is an exception, and, according!}^, I like it the 
best of all I ever wrote. My sonnets to eminent con- 
temporaries are among the better things I have written. 
That to Erskine is a bad specimen. 1 have written ten, 
and mean to write six more. In " Fayette " I unwittingly 
(for I did not know it at the time) borrowed a thought 
from you. 

I will conclude with a little song of mine,^ which has 
no other merit than a pretty simplicity of silliness. 

1 First printed as Eif usion XIV. -which occurs in more than one of his 

in Poems, 1796. Of the four lines early poems. See Poetical Works, 

said to have been written by Lamb, p. 23, and Editor's Note, p. 566. 
Coleridge discarded lines 13 and 14, ^ Imitated from the Welsh. See 

and substituted a favourite couplet, Poetical Works, p. 33. 


If while my passion I impart, 

You deem my words untrue, 
O place your hand upon my heart — 

Feel how it throbs for you ! 

Ah no ! reject the thoughtless claim 

In pity to your Lover ! 
That thrilling touch would aid the flame 

It wishes to discover ! 

I am a complete necessitarian, and understand the sub- 
ject as well almost as Hartley himself, but I go farther 
than Hartley, and believe the corporeality of thought^ 
namely, that it is motion. Boyer thrashed Favell most 
cruelly the day before yesterday, and I sent him the fol- 
lowing note of consolation : "I condole with you on the 
unpleasant motions, to which a certain uncouth automa- 
ton has been mechanized ; and am anxious to know the 
motives that impinged on its optic or auditory nerves so 
as to be communicated in such rude vibrations throug-h 
the medullary substance of its brain, thence rolling their 
stormy surges into the capillaments of its tongue, and the 
muscles of its arm. The diseased violence of its think- 
ing corporealities will, depend upon it, cure itself by 
exhaustion. In the mean time I trust that you have not 
been assimilated in degradation by losing the ataxy of 
your temper, and that necessity which dignified you by a 
sentience of the pain has not lowered you by the acces- 
sion of anger or resentment." 

God love you, Southey ! My love to your mother ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 



Wednesday, December 17, 1794. 

Wlien I am unhappy a sigh or a groan does not feel 
sufficient to relieve the oppression of my heart. I give 
a long ivhistle. This by way of a detached truth. 

" How infinitely more to be valued is integrity of heart 
than effulgence of intellect ! " A noble sentiment, and 
would have come home to me, if for " integrity " you had 
substituted " energy." The skirmishes of sensibility are 
indeed contemptible when compared with the well-dis- 
ciplined phalanx of right-onward feelings. O ye invin- 
cible soldiers of virtue, who arrange yourselves under the 
generalship of fixed principles, that you would throw up 
your fortifications around my heart ! I pronounce this a 
very sensible, aj)ostrophical, metaphorical rant. 

I dined yesterday with Perry and Grey (the proprietor 
and editor of the " Morning Chronicle ") at their house, 
and met Holcroft. He either misunderstood Lovell, or 
Lovell misunderstood him. I know not which, but it is 
very clear to me that neither of them understands nor 
enters Into the views of our system. Holcroft opposes it 
violently and thinks it not virtuous. His arguments were 
such as Nugent and twenty others have used to us before 
him ; they were notJiing. There is a fierceness and dog- 
matism of conversation in Holcroft for which you receive 
little compensation either from the veracity of his informa- 
tion, the closeness of his reasoning, or the splendour of his 
language. He talks incessantly of metaphysics, of which 
he appears to me to know nothing, to have read nothing. 
He is ignorant as a scholar, and neglectfid of the smaller 
humanities as a man. Compare him with Person ! My 
God ! to hear Porson crush Godwin, Holcroft, etc. They 
absolutely tremble before him ! I had the honour of work- 
ing H. a little, and by my great coolness and command of 
impressive language certainly did him over. " Sir ! " said 


he, " I never knew so much real wisdom and so much rank 
error meet in one mind before ! " " Which," answered I, 
" means, I suppose, that in some things, sir, I agree with 
you, and in others I do not." He absolutely infests you 
with atheism ; and his arguments are such that the 
nonentities of Nugent consolidate into oak or ironwood 
by comparison ! As to his taste in poetry, he thinks 
lightly, or rather contemptuously, of Bowles' sonnets ; the 
language flat and prosaic and inharmonious, and the sen- 
timents only fit for girls ! Come, come, Mr. Holcroft, as 
much unintelligible metaphysics and as much bad criticism 
as you please, but no hlasphemy against the divinity of a 
Bowles 1 Person idolizes the sonnets. However it hap- 
pened, I am higher in his good graces than he in mine. 
If I am in town I dine with him and Godwin, etc., at 
his house on Sunday. 

I am astonished at your preference of the " Elegy." I 
think it the worst thing you ever wrote. 

" Qmi Gratio non odit, amet tua carmina, Avaro ! " ^ 

Why, 't is almost as bad as Lovell's " Farmhouse," and 
that would be at least a thousand fathoms deep in the 
dead sea of pessimism. 

" The hard world scofp'd my woes, the chaste one's pride, 

♦Implied in Mimic of virtue, mock'd my keen distress, 

the second * And Vice alone would shelter wretchedness, 

Even life is loathsome now," etc. 

These two stanzas are exquisite, but the lovely thought of 
the " hot sun," etc., as pitiless as proud prosperity loses 
part of its beauty by the time being night. It is among 
the chief excellences of Bowles that his imagery appears 
almost always prompted by surrounding scenery. 

Before you write a poem you should say to yourself, 
" What do I intend to be the character of this poem ; 

^ A parody of " Qui Bavium non Southey and Lovell in their joint 

odit, amet tua carmina, Moevi." volume of poems published at Bris- 

Virgil, Ed. iii. 90. Gratio and tol in 1795. 
Avaro were signatures adopted by 


which feature is to be predominant in it f " So you 
make it unique. But in this poem now Charlotte speaks 
and now the Poet. Assuredly the stanzas of Memory, 
" three worst of fiends," etc., and " gay fancy fond and 
frolic " are altogether poetical. You have repeated the 
same rhymes ungracefully, and the thought on which you 
harp so long recalls too forcibly the EuSet? ^pk<^o% of Si- 
monides. Unfortunately the " Adventurer " has made this 
sweet fragment an object of popular admiration. On the 
whole, I think it unworthy of your other " Botany Bay 
Eclogues," yet deem the two stanzas above selected su- 
perior almost to anything you ever wrote ; quod est magna 
res dicere, a great thing to say. 


Though king-bred rage with lawless Tumult rude 
Have driv'n our Priestley o'er the ocean swell ; 
Though Superstition and her wolfish brood 
Bay his mild radiance, impotent and fell ; 
Calm in his halls of brightness he shall dwell ! 
For lo ! Religion at his strong behest 
Disdainful rouses from the Papal spell, 
And flings to Earth her tinsel-glittering vest, 
Her mitred state and cumbrous pomp unholy ; 
And Justice wakes to bid th' oppression wail, 
That ground th' ensnared soul of patient Folly ; 
And from her dark retreat by Wisdom won, 
Meek Nature slowly lifts her matron veil, 
To smile with fondness on her gazing son ! 

^ Of the six sonnets included in The sonnets to God-win, Southey, 

this letter, those to Burke, Priestley, and Sheridan were published on the 

and Kosciusko had already appeared 10th, 14th, and 29th of January, 

in the Morning Chronicle on the 9th, 1795. See Poetical Works, pp. 38, 

11th, and 16th of December, 1794. 39, 41, 42. 



O what a loud and fearful shriek was there, 

As though a thousand souls one death-groan poured ! 

Great Kosciusko 'neath an hireling's sword 

The warriors view'd ! Hark ! through the list'ning air 

(When pauses the tir'd Cossack's barbarous yell 

Of triumph) on the chill and midnight gale 

Rises with frantic burst or sadder swell 

The " Dirge of Murder'd Hope ! " while Freedom pale 

Bends in such anguish o'er her destined bier, 

As if from eldest time some Spirit meek 

Had gathered in a mystic urn each tear 

That ever furrowed a sad Patriot's cheek, 

And she had drench'd the sorrows of the bowl 

Ev'n tUl she reel'd, intoxicate of soul ! 

Tell me which you like the best of the above two. I 
have written one to Godwin, but the mediocrity of the 
eight first lines is most miserably magazinish ! I have 
plucked, therefore, these scentless road-flowers from the 
chaplet, and entreat thee, thou river god of Pieria, to 
weave into it the gorgeous water-lily from thy stream, or 
the far-smelling violets on thy bank. The last six lines 
are these : — 

Nor will I not thy holy guidance bless 
And hymn thee, Godwin ! with an ardent lay ; 
For that thy voice, in Passion's stormy day, 
When wild I roam'd the bleak Heath of Distress, 
Bade the bright form of Justice meet my way, — • 
And told me that her name was Happiness. 

Give me your minutest opinion concerning tlie follow- 
ing sonnet, whether or no I shall admit it into the num- 
ber. The move of bepraising a man by enumerating the 
beauties of his polygraph is at least an original one ; so 
much so that I fear it will be somewhat unintelligible to 


those whose brains are not tov d^etvovos tttjXov. (You have 
read S.'s poetry and know that the fancy displayed in it is 
sweet and delicate to the highest degree.) 


Some winged Genius, Sheridan ! imbreath'd 

His various influence on thy natal hour : 

My fancy bodies forth the Guardian Power, 

His temples with Hymettian flowerets wreath'd ; 

And sweet his voice, as when o'er Laura's bier 

Sad music trembled through Vauclusa's glade ; 

Sweet, as at dawn the lovelorn serenade 

That bears soft dreams to Slumber's listening ear ! 

Now patriot Zeal and Indignation high 

Swell the full tones ! and now his eye-beams dance 

Meanings of Scorn and Wit's quaint revelry ! 

Th' Apostate by the brainless rout adored. 

Writhes inly from the bosom-probing glance. 

As erst that nobler Fiend beneath great Michael's sword ! 

I will give the second number as deeming that it pos- 
sesses mind : — 

As late I roamed through Fancy's shadowy vale, 

With wetted cheek and in a mourner's guise, 

I saw the sainted form of Freedom rise : 

He spake : — not sadder moans th' autumnal gale — 

" Great Son of Genius ! sweet to me thy name, 

Ere in an evil hour with altered voice 

Thou badst Oppression's hireling crew rejoice. 

Blasting with wizard spell my laureU'd fame. 

Yet never, Burke ! thou drank'st Corruption's bowl ! 

Thee stormy Pity and the cherish'd lure 

Of Pomp and proud precipitance of soul 

Urged on with wild'ring fires. Ah, spirit pure ! 

That Error's mist had left thy purged eye ; 

So might I clasp thee with a Mother's joy." 



Poor little foal of an oppressed race ! 

I love the languid patience of thy face : 

And oft with friendly hand I give thee bread, 

And clap thy ragged coat and pat thy head. 

But what thy dulled spirit hath dismay 'd, 

That never thou dost sport upon the glade ? 

And (most unlike the nature of things young) 

That still to earth thy moping head is hung ? 

Do thy prophetic tears anticipate, 

Meek Child of Misery, thy future fate ? 

The starving meal and all the thousand aches 

That " patient Merit of the Unworthy takes " ? 

Or is thy sad heart thrill' d with filial pain 

To see thy wretched mother's lengthened chain ? 

And truly, very piteous is her lot, 

Chained to a log upon a narrow spot, 

Where the close-eaten grass is scarcely seen, 

While sweet around her waves the tempting green ! 

Poor Ass ! thy master should have learnt to show 

Pity best taught by fellowship of Woe ! 

For much I fear me that lie lives like thee 

Half-famish'd in a land of Luxury ! 

How askingly its steps towards me bend ! 

It seems to say, " And have I then one friend ? " 

Innocent foal ! thou poor, despis'd forlorn ! 

I hail thee Brother, spite of the fool's scorn ! 

And fain I 'd take thee with me in the Dell 

Of high-souled Pantisocracy to dwell ; 

Where Toil shall call the charmer Health his bride. 

And Laughter tickle Plenty's ribless side ! 

How thou wouldst toss thy heels in gamesome play, 

And frisk about, as lamb or kitten gay. 

^ First published in the Morning Jackass in Jesus Piece. Its Mother 

Chronicle, December 30, 1794. An near it, chained to a Log." See Po- 

earlier draft, dated October 24, 1794, etical Works, Appendix C, p. 477, 

was headed " Monologue to a Young and Editor's Note, p. 573. 


Yea, and more musically sweet to me 
Thy dissonant harsh bray of joy would be, 
Than BanWs warbled airs, that soothe to rest 
The tumult of a scoundrel Monarch's breast ! 

How do you like it ? 

I took the liberty — Gracious God ! pardon me for the 
aristocratic frigidity of that expression — I indulged my 
feelings by sending this among my Contemporary Sonnets : 

Southey ! Thy melodies steal o'er mine ear 
Like far-off joyance, or the murmuring 
Of wild bees in the sunny showers of Spring — 
Sounds of such mingled import as may cheer 
The lonely breast, yet rouse a mindful tear : 
Waked by the song doth Hope-born Fancy fling 
Rich showers of dewy fragrance from her wing, 
Till sickly Passion's drooping Myrtles sear 
Blossom anew ! But O ! more thrill'd I prize 
Thy sadder strains, that bid in Memory's Dream 
The faded forms of past Delight arise ; 
Then soft on Love's pale cheek the tearful gleam 
Of Pleasure smiles as faint yet beauteous lies 
The imaged Rainbow on a willowy stream. 

God love you and your mother and Edith and Sara 
and Mary and little Eliza, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., and 


[The following lines in Southey's handwriting are at- 
tached to this letter : — 

What though oppression's blood-cemented force 
Stands proudly threatening arrogant in state, 
Not thine his savage priests to immolate 

Or hurl the fahric on the encumber'd plain 

As with a whirhvind's fury. It is thine 

When dark Revenge masked in the form adored 
Of Justice lifts on high the murderer's sword 

To save the erring victims from her shrine. 

To Godwin.] 



Monday morning, December, 1794. 

My deae Southey, — I will not say that you treat 
me coolly or mysteriously, yet assuredly you seem to look 
upon me as a man whom vanity, or some other inexph- 
cable cause, has alienated from the system, or what could 
build so injurious a suspicion ? Wherein, when roused 
to the recollection of my duty, have I shrunk from the 
performance of it ? I hold my life and my feeble feel- 
ings as ready sacrifices to justice — KavKcla) vnopa'i yap. I 
dismiss a subject so painfid to me as self -vindication ; 
painful to me only as addressing you on whose esteem 
and affection I have rested with the whole weight of my 

Southey ! I must tell you that you appear to me to write 
as a man who is aweary of the world because it accords 
not with his ideas of perfection. Your sentiments look 
like the sickly offspring of disgusted pride. It flies not 
away from the couches of imperfection because the patients 
are fretful and loathsome. 

Why, my dear, very dear Southey, do you wrap your- 
self in the mantle of self-centring resolve, and refuse to 
us your boimden quota of intellect ? Why do you say, 
" /, /, /will do so and so," instead of saying, as you were 
wont to do, " It is all our duty to do so and so, for such 
and such reasons " ? 

For God's sake, my dear fellow, teU me what we are to 
gain by taking a Welsh farm. Remember the principles 
and proposed consequences of pantisocracy, and reflect in 
what degree they are attainable by Coleridge, Southey, 
Lovell, Burnett, and Co., some five men goi7ig partners 
together? In the next place, supposing that we have 
proved the preponderating utility of our aspheterizing in 
Wales, let us by our speedy and united inquiries discover 
the sum of money necessary, whether such a farm with so 


very large a house is to be procured without launching 
our frail and unpiloted bark on a rough sea of anxieties. 
How much is necessary for the maintenance of so large a 
family — eighteen people for a year at least ? 

I have read my objections to Lovell. If he has not an- 
swered them altogether to my fullest conviction, he has 
however shown me the wretchedness that would fall on 
the majority of our party from any delay in so forcible a 
light, that if three hundred pounds be adequate to the 
commencement of the system (which I very much doubt), 
I am most willing to give up all my views and embark 
immediately with you. 

If it be determined that we shall go to Wales (for which 
I now give my vote), in what time ? Mrs. Lovell thinks it 
impossible that we should go in less than three months. If 
this be the case, I will accept of the reporter's place to the 
" Telegraph," live upon a guinea a week, and transmit the 
[? balance], finishing in the same time my "Imitations." 

However, I will walk to Bath to-morrow morning and 
return in the evening. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lovell, Sarah, Edith, all desire their best 
love to you, and are anxious concerning your health. 

May God love you and your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 


(?) December, 1794. 

Too long has my heart been the torture house of sus- 
pense. After infinite struggles of irresolution, I will at 
last dare to request of you, Mary, that you will commu- 
nicate to me whether or no you are engaged to Mr. . 

I conjure you not to consider this request as presumptuous 
indelicacy. Upon mine honour, I have made it with no 
other design or expectation than that of arming my forti- 
tude by total hopelessness. Read this letter with benev- 
olence — and consign it to oblivion. 

1794] TO MARY EVANS 123 

For four years I have endeavoured to smotlier a very- 
ardent attaclmient ; in what degree I have succeeded you 
must know better than I can. With quick perceptions 
of moral beauty, it was impossible for me not to admire 
in you your sensibility regulated by judgTiient, your gaiety 
proceeding from a cheerful heart acting on the stores of a 
strong understanding. At first I voluntarily invited the 
recollection of these qualities into my mind. I made them 
the perpetual object of my reveries, yet I entertained no 
one sentiment beyond that of the inunediate pleasure an- 
nexed to the thinking of you. At length it became a 
habit. I awoke from the delusion, and found that I had 
imwittingly harboured a passion which I felt neither the 
power nor the courage to subdue. My associations were 
irrevocably formed, and your image was blended with every 
idea. I thought of you incessantly; yet that spirit (if 
spirit there be that condescends to record the lonely beat- 
ings of my heart), that spirit knows that I thought of you 
with the purity of a brother. Happy were I, had it been 
with no more than a brother's ardour ! 

The man of dependent fortunes, while he fosters an at- 
tachment, commits an act of suicide on his happiness. I 
possessed no establislmient. My views were very distant ; 
I saw that you regarded me merely with the kindness of a 
sister. What expectations could I form ? I formed no 
expectations. I was ever resolving to subdue the dis- 
quieting passion ; still some inexplicable suggestion pal- 
sied my efforts, and I clung with desperate fondness to 
this phantom of love, its mysterious attractions and hope- 
less prospects. It was a faint and rayless hope ! ^ Yet it 
soothed my solitude with many a delightfid day-dream. 
It was a faint and rayless hope ! Yet I nursed it in my 
bosom with an agony of affection, even as a mother her 

^ Compare the last six lines of a dated October 21, 1794. (Letter 
sonnet, " On a Discovery made too XXXVII.) See Poetical Works, p. 
late," sent in a letter to Southey, 34, and Editor's Note, p. 571. 


sickly infant. But these are the poisoned luxuries of a 
diseased fancy. Indulge, Mary, this my first, my last 
request, and restore me to reality^ however gloomy. Sad 
and full of heaviness will the intelligence be ; my heart 
will die within me. I shall, however, receive it with stead- 
ier resignation from yourself, than were it announced to 
me (haply on your marriage day !) by a stranger. In- 
dulge my request ; I will not disturb your peace by even 
a look of discontent, still less will I offend your ear by the 
whine of selfish sensibility. In a few months I shall enter 
at the Temple and there seek forgetful calmness, where 
only it can be found, in incessant and useful activity. 

Were you not possessed of a mind and of a heart above 
the usual lot of women, I should not have written you 
sentiments that would be unintelligible to three fourths 
of your sex. But our feelings are congenial, though our 
attachment is doomed not to be reciprocal. You will not 
deem so meanly of me as to believe that I shall regard 

Mr. with the jaundiced eye of disappointed passion. 

God forbid ! He whom you honour with your affections 
becomes sacred to me. I shall love him for yoiir sake ; 
the time may perhaps come when I shall be philosopher 
enough not to envy him for his own. 

I return to Cambridge to-morrow morning. 
Miss Evans, No. 17 Sackville Street, Piccadilly. 


December 24, 1794. 

I have this moment received your letter, Mary Evans. 
Its firmness does honour to your understanding, its gen- 
tleness to your humanity. You condescend to accuse 
yourself — most unjustly ! You have been altogether 
blameless. In my wildest day-dream of vanity, I never 
supposed that you entertained for me any other than a 
common friendship. 


To love you, habit has made unalterable. This passion, 
however, divested as it now is of all shadow of hope, will 
lose its disquieting power, Far distant from you I shall 
journey through the vale of men in calmness. He cannot 
long be wretched, who dares be actively virtuous. 

I have burnt your letters — forget mine ; and that I 
have pained you, forgive me ! 

May God infinitely love you ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 


December, 1794. 

I am calm, dear Southey ! as an autumnal day, when 
the sky is covered with gray moveless clouds. To love 
her, habit has made unalterable. I had placed her in the 
sanctuary of my heart, nor can she be torn from thence 
but with the strings that grapple it to life. This passion, 
however, divested as it now is of all shadow of hope, 
seems to lose its disquieting power. Far distant, and 
never more to behold or hear of her, I shall sojourn in 
the vale of men, sad and in loneliness, yet not unhappy. 
He cannot be long wretched who dares be actively vir- 
tuous. I am well assured that she loves me as a favourite 
brother. When she was present, she was to me only as a 
very dear sister ; it was in absence that I felt those gnaw- 
ings of suspense, and that dreaminess of mind, which 
evidence an affection more restless, yet scarcely less pure 
than the fraternal. The struggle has been well nigh too 
much for me ; but, praised be the All-Merciful ! the fee- 
bleness of exhausted feelings has produced a calm, and 
my heart stagnates into peace. 

Southey ! my ideal standard of female excellence rises 
not above that woman. But all things work together 
for good. Had I been united to her, the excess of my 
affection would have effeminated my intellect. I should 
have fed on her looks as she entered into the room, I 


should have gazed on her footsteps when she went out 
from me. 

To lose her ! I can rise above that selfish pang. But 
to marry another. O Southey ! bear with my weakness. 
Love makes all things pure and heavenly like itself, — 
but to marry a woman whom I do 7iot love, to degrade 
her whom I call my wife by making her the instrument 
of low desire, and on the removal of a desultory appetite 
to be perhaps not displeased with her absence ! Enough ! 
These refinements are the wildering fires that lead me 
into vice. Mark you, Southey ! I vyill do my duty. 

I have this moment received your letter. My friend, 
you want but one quality of mind to be a perfect charac- 
ter. Your sensibilities are tempestuous ; you feel indig- 
nation at weakness. Now Indignation is the handsome 
brother of Anger and Hatred. His looks are " lovely in 
terror," yet still remember who are his relations. I 
would ardently that you were a necessitarian, and (be- 
lieving in an all-loving Omnipotence) an optimist. That 
puny imp of darkness yclept scepticism, how coidd it dare 
to approach the hallowed fires that burn so brightly on 
the altar of your heart ? 

Think you I wish to stay in town? I am all eager- 
ness to leave it ; and am resolved, whatever be the conse- 
quence, to be at Bath by Saturday. I thought of walk- 
ing down. 

I have written to Bristol and said I could not assign a 
particular time for my leaving town. I spoke indefinitely 
that I might not disappoint. 

I am not, I presume, to attribute some verses addressed 
to S. T. C, in the " Morning Chronicle," to you. To 
whom ? My dear Allen I wherein has he offended ? He 
did never promise to form one of our party. But of all 
this when we meet. Would a pistol preserve integrity? 
So concentrate guilt ? no very philosophical mode of pre- 
venting it. I will write of indifferent subjects. Your 


sonnet,^ " Hold your mad hands ! " is a noble burst of 
poetry ; and — but my mind is weakened and I turn with 
selfishness of thought to those wilder songs that develop 
my lonely feelings. Sonnets are scarcely fit for the hard 
gaze of the public. I read, with heart and taste equally 
delighted, your prefatory sonnet.^ I transcribe it, not so 
much to give you my corrections, as for the pleasure it 
gives me. 

With wayworn feet, a pilgrim woe-begone, 
Life's upland steep I journeyed many a day, 
And hymning many a sad yet soothing lay, 

Beguiled my wandering with the charms of song. 
Lonely my heart and rugged was my way, 

Yet often plucked I, as I passed along, 

The wild and simple flowers of poesy : 

And, as beseemed the wayward Fancy's child, 

Entwined each random weed that pleased mine eye. 
Accept the wreath, Beloved ! it is wild 
And rudely garlanded ; yet scorn not thou 

The humble ofEering, when the sad rue weaves 

With gayer flowers its intermingled leaves, 
And I have twin'd the myrtle for thy brow ! 

It is a lovely sonnet. Lamb likes it with tears in his 
eyes. His sister has lately been very unwell, confined to 
her bed, dangerously. She is all his comfort, he hers. 
They dote on each other. Her mind is elegantly stored ; 
her heart feeling. Her illness preyed a good deal on his 
spirits, though he bore it with an apparent equanimity as 
beseemed him who, like me, is a Unitarian Christian, and 
an advocate for the automatism of man. 

1 The first of six sonnets on the Bristol, 1796. Southey's Poetical 
Slave Trade. Southey's Poetical Worlds, 1837, vol. ii. The text of 
Works, 18.S7, ii. 55. 1837 differs considerably from the 

2 Prefixed as a dedication to Ju- earlier version. Possibly in tran- 
venile and Minor Poems. It is ad- scribing Coleridge altered the origi- 
dressed to Edith Southey, and dated nal to suit his own taste. 


I was writing a poem, which when finished you shall 
see, and wished him to describe the character and doc- 
trines of Jesus Christ for me ; but his low spirits pre- 
vented him. The poem is in blank verse on the Nativity. 
I sent him these careless lines, which flowed from my pen 
extemporaneously : — 


Thus far my sterile brain hath framed the song 

Elaborate and swelling : but the heart 

Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing power 

I ask not now, my friend ! the aiding verse, 

Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought 

Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know) 

Thou creepest round a dear-loved Sister's bed 

"With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look, 

Soothing each pang with fond solicitude, 

And tenderest tones, medicinal of love. 

I too a Sister had, an only Sister — 

She loved me dearly, and I doted on her I 

On her soft bosom I reposed my cares 

And gained for every wound a healing scar. 

To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows, 

(As a sick Patient in his Nurse's arms). 

And of the heart those bidden maladies 

That shrink ashamed from even Friendship's eye. 

! I have woke at midnight and have wept 
Because she was not ! Cheerily, dear Charles ! 
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year : 
Such high presages feel I of warm hope ! 

For not uninterested, the dear Maid 

1 've view'd — her Soul affectionate yet wise, 
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories 
That play around a holy infant's head. 

He knows (the Spirit who in secret sees, 
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading Love 

1 To a Friend [Charles Lamb], ["Religious Musings"]. Poetical 
together with an Unfinished Poem Works, p. 37. 


Aught to implore were Impotence of mind) 
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne, 
Prepar'd, when he his healing pay vouchsafes, 
To pour forth thanksgiving with lifted heart, 
And praise Him Gracious with a Brother's Joy ! 

Wynne is indeed a noble fellow. More when we meet. 
Your S. T. Coleridge. 








Spring, 1795. 

My DEAR Sir, — Can you conveniently lend me five 
pounds, as we want a little more than four pounds to 
make up our lodging bill, which is indeed much higher 
than we expected ; seven weeks and Burnett's lodging for 
twelve weeks, amounting to eleven pounds ? 
Yours affectionately, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


July 31, 1795. 

Dear Cottle, — By the thick smokes that precede 
the volcanic eruptions of Etna, Vesuvius, and Hecla, I 
feel an impulse to fumigate, at 25 College Street, one pair 
of stairs' room ; yea, with our Oronoco, and, if thou wilt 
send me by the bearer four pipes, I will write a panegyr- 
ical epic poem upon thee, with as many books as there are 
letters in thy name. Moreover, if thou wilt send me 
"the copy-book," I hereby bind myself, by to-morrow 
morning, to write out enough copy for a sheet and a half. 

God bless you. S. T. C. 



Dear Cottle, — Shall I trouble you (I being over 
the mouth and nose, in doing something of importance, 

at 's) to send your servant into the market and buy 

a pound of bacon, and two quarts of broad beans; and 
when he carries it down to College Street, to desire the 
maid to dress it for dinner, and tell her I shall be home 
by three o'clock ? Will you come and drink tea with me ? 
and I wiU endeavour to get the etc. ready for you. 

Yours affectionately, 

S. T. C. 


October, 1795. 

Mt dear Southet, — It would argue imbecility and 
a latent wickedness in myself, if for a moment I doubted 
concerning your purposes and final determination. I 
write, because it is possible that I may suggest some idea 
to you which should find a place in your answer to your 
uncle, and I write, because in a letter I can express 
myself more connectedly than in conversation. 

The former part of Mr. Hill's reasonings is reducible 
to this. It may not be vicious to entertain pure and 
virtuous sentiments ; their criminaHty is confined to the 
promulgation (if we believe democracy to be pure and 
virtuous, to us it is so). Southey ! Pantisocracy is not 
the question : its realization is distant — perhaps a mirac- 
ulous millennium. What you have seen, or think that 
you have seen of the human heart, may render the 
formation even of a pantisocratic seminary improbable to 
you, but this is not the question. Were £300 a year 
offered to you as a man of the world, as one indifferent to 
absolute equality, but still on the supposition that you 
were commonly honest, I suppose it possible that doubts 


might arise ; your mother, your brother, your Edith, 
would all crowd upon you, and certain misery might be 
weighed against distant, and perhaps unattainable happi- 
ness. But the point is, whether or no you can perjure 
yourself. There are men who hold the necessity and 
moral optimism of our religious establishment. Its pecul- 
iar dogmas they may disapprove, but of innovation they 
see dreadful and unhealable consequence ; and they will 
not quit the Church for a few follies and absurdities, 
any more than for the same reason they would desert a 
valued friend. Such men I do not condemn. Whatever I 
may deem of their reasoning, their hearts and consciences 
I include not in the anathema. But you disapprove of 
an establishment altogether ; you believe it iniquitous, a 
mother of crimes. It is impossible that you could uphold 
it by assuming the badge of affiliation. 

My prospects are not bright, but to the eye of reason as 
bright as when we first formed our plan ; nor is there any 
opposite inducement offered, of which you were not then 
apprized, or had cause to expect. Domestic happiness is 
the greatest of things sublunary, and of things celestial 
it is impossible, perhaps, for unassisted man to believe 
anything greater ; but it is not strange that those things, 
which, in a pure form of society, will constitute our first 
blessings, should in its present morbid state be our most 
perilous temptations. " He that doth not love mother 
or wife less than me, is not worthy of me ! " 

This have I written, Southey, altogether disinterestedly. 
Your desertion or adhesion will in no wise affect my feel- 
ings, opinions, or conduct, and in a very inconsiderable 
degree my fortunes ! That Being who is " in wiU, in 
deed, Impulse of all to all," whichever be your determi- 
nation, will make it ultimately the best. 

God love you, my dear Southey ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 



Wednesday evening, October 7, 1795. 

My dear Sir, — God bless you ; or rather, God be 
praised for that he has blessed you ! 

On Sunday morning I was married at St. Mary's Red- 
elifP, poor Chatterton's church! The thought gave a 
tinge of melancholy to the solemn joy which I felt, united 
to the woman whom I love best of all created beings. 
We are settled, nay, quite domesticated, at Clevedon, our 
comfortable cot ! 

Mrs. Coleridge I I like to write the name. Well, 
as I was saying, Mrs. Coleridge desires her affectionate 
regards to you. I talked of you on my wedding night. 
God bless you ! I hope that some ten years hence you 
will believe and know of my affection towards you what I 
will not now profess. 

The prospect around is perhaps more various than any 
in the kingdom. Mine eye gluttonizes the sea, the dis- 
tant islands, the opposite coast ! I shall assuredly write 
rhymes, let the nine Muses prevent it if they can. Cruik- 
shank, I find, is married to Miss Bucle. I am happy to 
hear it. He wiU surely, I hope, make a good husband to 
a woman, to whom he would be a villain who should make 
a bad one. 

I have given up all thoughts of the magazine, for 
various reasons. Imprimis, I must be connected with R. 
Southey in it, which I could not be with comfort to my 
feelings. Seciaido, It is a thing of montlily anxiety and 
quotidian bustle. Tertio, It would cost Cottle an hundred 
pounds in buying paper, etc. — all on an uncertainty. 
Quarto, To publish a magazine for one year would be 
nonsense, and if I pursue what I mean to pursue, my 
school plan, I could not publish it for more than a year. 
Quinto, Cottle has entered into an engagement to give 
me a guinea and a half for every hundred lines of poetry 


I write, wliicli will be perfectly sufficient for my main- 
tenance, I only amusing myself on mornings ; and all 
my prose works lie is eager to purchase. Sexto, In the 
course of half a year I mean to return to Cambridge 
(having previously taken my name off from the University 
control) and taking lodgings there for myself and wife, 
finish my great work of " Imitations," in two volumes. 
My former works may, I hope, prove somewhat of genius 
and of erudition. This will be better ; it will show great 
industry and manly consistency ; at the end of it I shall 
publish proposals for school, etc. Cottle has spent a day 
with me, and takes this letter to Bristol. My next will be 
long, and full of something. This is inanity and egotism. 
Pray let me hear from you, directing the letter to Mr. 
Cottle, who will forward it. My respectful and grateful 
remembrance to your mother, and believe me, dear Poole, 
your affectionate and mindful friend, shall I so soon dare 
to say? Believe me, my heart prompts it. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Friday morning, November 13, 1Y95. 

Southey, I have lost friends — friends who still cherish 
for me sentiments of high esteem and unextinguished ten- 
derness. For the svmi total of my misbehaviour, the Alpha 
and Omega of their accusations, is epistolary neglect. I 
never speak of them without affection, I never think of 
them without reverence. Not " to this catalogue," Sou- 
they, have I " added your name." You are lost to me, 
because you are lost to Virtue. As this will probably be 
the last time I shall have occasion to address you, I will 
begin at the beginning and regularly retrace your conduct 

^ This farewell letter of apology original MS. is written on small fools- 

and remonstrance was not sent by cap. A first draft, or copy, of the 

post, but must have reached Sou- letter was sent to Coleridge's friend, 

they's hand on the 13th of Novem- Josiah Wade, 
ber, the eve of his wedding day. The 


and my own. In the montli o£ June, 1794, 1 first became 
acquainted with your person and character. Before I 
quitted Oxford, we had struck out the leading features of 
a pantisocracy. While on my journey through Wales you 
invited me to Bristol with the full hopes of realising it. 
During my abode at Bristol the plan was matured, and I re- 
turned to Cambridge hot in the anticipation of that happy 
season when we should remove the selfish principle from 
ourselves, and prevent it in our children, by an abolition 
of property ; or, in whatever respects this might be im- 
practicable, by such similarity of property as would amount 
to a moral sameness, and answer all the purjooses of aho- 
lition. Nor were you less zealous, and thought and ex- 
pressed your opinion, that if any man embraced our sys- 
tem he must comparatively disregard " his father and 
mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, 
yea, and his own life also, or he could not be our disciple." 
In one of your letters, alluding to your mother's low spir- 
its and situation, you tell me that " I cannot suppose any 
individual feelings will have an undue weight with you," 
and in the same letter you observe (alas ! your recent 
conduct has made it a prophecy !), " God forbid that the 
ehullience of schematism should be over. It is the Pro- 
methean fire that animates my soul, and when that is gone 
all will he darkness. I have devoted myself ! " 

Previously to my departure from Jesus College, and 
during my melancholy detention in London, what convul- 
sive struggles of feeling I underwent, and what sacrifices 
I made, you know. The liberal proposal from my family 
affected me no further than as it pained me to wound a 
revered brother by the positive and immediate refusal 
which duty compelled me to return. But there was a — 
I need not be particular ; you remember what a fetter I 
burst, and that it snapt as if it had been a sinew of my 
heart. However, I returned to Bristol, and my addresses 
to Sara, which I at first paid from principle, not feeling, 


from feeling and from principle I renewed ; and I met a 
reward more than proportionate to the greatness of the 
effort. I love and I am beloved, and I am happy ! 

Your letter to Lovell (two or three days after my arri- 
val at Bristol), in answer to some objections of mine to 
the Welsh scheme, was the first thing that alarmed me. 
Instead of " It is our duty," " Such and such are the rea- 
sons," it was "I and I" and " will and will," — sentences 
of gloomy and self-centering resolve. I wrote you a 
friendly reproof, and in my own mind attributed this un- 
wonted style to your earnest desires of realising our plan, 
and the angry pain which you felt when any appeared to 
oppose or defer its execution. However, I came over to 
your opinions of the utility, and, in course, the duty of 
rehearsing our scheme in Wales, and, so, rejected the offer 
of being established in the Earl of Buchan's family. To 
this period of our connection I call your more particular 
attention and remembrance, as I shall revert to it at the 
close of my letter. 

We commenced lecturing. Shortly after, you began to 
recede in your conversation from those broad principles in 
which pantisocracy originated. I opposed you with vehe- 
mence, for I well knew that no notion of morality or its 
motives could be without consequences. And once (it was 
just before we went to bed) you confessed to me that you 
had acted wrong. But you relapsed ; your manner be- 
came cold and gloomy, and pleaded with increased perti- 
nacity for the wisdom of making Self an undiverging Cen- 
ter. At Mr. Jardine's ^ your language was strong indeed. 
Recollect it. You had left the table, and we were stand- 
ing at the window. Then darted into my mind the dread 
that you were meditating a separation. At Chepstow'^ 

^ The Rev. David Jardine, Unita- ered in a blue coat and white waist- 

rian minister at Bath. Cottle lays coat, in Mr. Jardine's chapel at Bath, 

the scene of the " inaugural ser- Early Recollections, i. 179. 

mens " on the com laws and hair ^ If we may believe Cottle, the 

powder tax, which Coleridge deliv- dispute began by Southey attacking 


your conduct renewed my suspicion, and I was greatly 
agitated, even to many tears. But in Peircefield Walks ^ 
you assured me that my suspicions were altogether un- 
founded, that our differences were merely speculative, and 
that you would certainly go into Wales. I was glad and 
satisfied. For my heart was never bent from you but by 
violent strength, and heaven knows how it leapt back to 
esteem and love you. But alas ! a short time passed ere 
your departure from our first principles became too fla- 
grant. Remember when we went to Ashton ^ on the straw- 
berry party. Your conversation with George Burnett on 
the day following he detailed to me. It scorched my 
throat. Your private resources were to remain your indi- 
vidual property, and everything to be separate except a 
farm of five or six acres. In short, we were to commence 
partners in a petty farming trade. This was the mouse 
of which the mountain Pantisocracy was at last safely de- 
livered. I received the account with indignation and 
loathings of unutterable contempt. Such opinions were 
indeed unassailable, — the javelin of argument and the 
arrows of ridicide would have been equally misapplied ; a 
straw would have wounded them mortally. I did not con- 
descend to waste my intellect upon them ; but in the most 
express terms I declared to George Burnett my opinion 
(and, Southey, next to my own existence, there is scarce 
any fact of which at this moment I entertain less doubt), 
to Burnett I declared it to be my opinion " that you had 
long laid a jplot of separation, and were now developing 
it by proposing such a vile mutilation of our scheme as 

Coleridge for his non-appearance at pleasure," and was, no doulit, ren- 

a lecture which he had undertaken dered doubly sore hy his partner's 

to deliver in his stead. The scene delinquency. See Early EecoUec- 

of the quarrel is laid at Chepstow, on tions, i. 40, 41. See, also, letter from 

the first day of the memorable ex- Southey to Bedford, dated May 28, 

cursion to Tintern Abbey, which 1795. Life and Correspondence, i. 

Cottle had planned to " gratify his 239. 

two young friends." Southey had ^ At Chepstow. 

been " dragged," much against the ^ A village three miles W. S. W- 

grain, into this " detestable party of of Bristol. 


you must have been conscious I should reject decisively 
and with scorn." George Burnett was your most affec- 
tionate friend ; I knew his unbounded veneration for you, 
his personal attachment ; I knew likewise his gentle dis- 
like of me. Yet him I bade be the judge. I bade him 
choose his associate. I would adopt the full system or de- 
part. George, I presume, detailed of this my conversa- 
tion what part he chose ; from him, however, I received 
your sentiments, viz. : that you would go into Wales, or 
what place I liked. Thus your system of prudentials and 
your apostasy were not sudden ; these constant nibblings 
had sloped your descent from virtue. " You received your 
uncle's letter," I said — " what answer have you re- 
turned ? " For to think with almost superstitious venera- 
tion of you had been such a deep-rooted habit of my soul 
that even then I did not dream you could hesitate concern- 
ing so infamous a proposal. " None," you replied, " nor 
do I know what answer I shall return." You went to 
bed. George sat haK- petrified, gaping at the pigmy vir- 
tue of his supposed giant. I performed the office of still- 
struggling friendship by writing you my free sentiments 
concerning the enormous guilt of that which your uncle's 
doughty sophistry recommended. 

On the next morning I walked with you towards Bath ; 
again I insisted on its criminality. You told me that you 
had " little notion of guilt," and that " you had a pretty 
sort of lullaby faith of your own." Finding you invulner- 
able in conscience, for the sake of mankind I did not, how- 
ever, quit the field, but pressed you on the difficulties of 
your system. Your uncle's intimacy with the bishop, and 
the hush in which you would lie for the two years previous 
to your ordination, were the arguments (variously urged 
in a long and desultory conversation) by which you solved 
those difficulties. " But your ' Joan of Arc ' — the senti- 
ments in it are of the boldest order. What if the suspi- 
cions of the Bishop be raised, and he particularly questions 


you concerning your opinions of the Trinity and tlie Re- 
demption ? " " Oh," you replied, " I am pretty well up to 
their jargon, and shall answer them accordingly." In fine, 
you left me fully persuaded that you would enter into Holy 
Orders. And, after a week's interval or more, you desired 
George Burnett to act independently of you, and gave him 
an invitation to Oxford. Of course, we both concluded 
that the matter was absolutely determined. Southey ! I 
am not besotted that I should not know, nor hypocrite 
enough not to tell you, that you were diverted from being 
a Priest only by the weight of infamy which you perceived 
coming towards you like a rush of waters. 

Then with good reason I considered you as one fallen 
hack into the ranks ; as a man admirable for his abilities 
only, strict, indeed, in the lesser honesties, but, like the 
majority of men, unable to resist a strong temptation. 
Friend is a very sacred appellation. You were become 
an acquaintance, yet one for whom I felt no common 
tenderness. I could not forget what you had been. Your 
sun was set ; your sky was clouded ; but those clouds and 
that sky were yet tinged with the recent sun. As I con- 
sidered you, so I treated you. I studiously avoided aU 
particular subjects. I acquainted you with nothing rela- 
tive to myself. Literary topics engrossed our conversation. 
You were too quick-sighted not to perceive it. I received 
a letter from you. " You have mthdrawn your confidence 
from me, Coleridge. Preserving still the face of friend- 
ship when we meet, you yet avoid me and carry on your 
plans in secrecy." If by "the face of friendship" you 
meant that kindliness which I show to all because I feel 
it for all, your statement was perfectly accurate. If you 
meant more, you contradict yourself ; for you evidently 
perceived from my manners that you were a " weight upon 
me " in company — an intruder, unwished and unwelcome. 
I pained you by " cold civility, the shadow which friend- 
ship leaves behind him." Since that letter I altered my 


conduct no otherwise than by avoiding you more. I still 
generalised, and spoke not of myself, except my proposed 
literary works. In short, I spoke to you as I should have 
done to any other man of genius who had happened to be 
my acquaintance. Without the farce and tumult of a rup- 
ture I wished you to sink into that class. " Face to face 
you never changed your manners to me." And yet I pained 
you by "cold civility." Egregious contradiction ! Doubt- 
less I always treated you with urbanity, and meant to do so ; 
but I locked up my heart from you, and you perceived it, 
and I intended you to perceive it. "I planned works in 
conjimction with you." Most certainly; the magazine 
which, long before this, you had planned equally with me, 
and, if it had been carried into execution, would of course 
have returned you a third share of the profits. What had 
you done that should make you an unfit literary associate 
to me ? Nothing. My opinion of you as a man was al- 
tered, not as a writer. Our Muses had not quarrelled. I 
should have read your poetry with equal delight, and cor- 
rected it with equal zeal if correction it needed. " I re- 
ceived you on my return from Shurton with my usual 
shake of the hand." You gave me your hand, and dread- 
ful must have been my feelings if I had refused to take it. 
Indeed, so long had I known you, so highly venerated, so 
dearly loved you, that my hand would have taken yours 
mechanically. But is shaking the hand a mark oi friend- 
ship ? Heaven forbid ! I should then be a hjrpocrite 
many days in the week. It is assuredly the pledge of ac- 
quaintance, and nothing more. But after this did I not 
with most scrupulous care avoid you ? You know I did. 

In your former letters you say that I made use of these 
words to you : " You will be retrograde that you may 
spring the farther forward." You have misquoted, 
Southey ! You had talked of rejoining pantisocracy in 
about fourteen years. I exploded this probability, but as I 
saw you determined to leave it, hoped and wished it might 


be so — hoped that we might run backwards only to leap 
forward. Not to mention that during that conversation 
I had taken the weight and pressing urgency of your 
motives as truths granted ; but when, on examination, I 
found them a show and mockery of unreal things, doubt- 
less, my opinion of you must have become far less re- 
spectful. You quoted likewise the last sentence of my 
letter to you, as a proof that I approved of your design ; 
you hnew that sentence to imply no more than the pious 
confidence of optimism — however wickedly you might 
act, God would make it ultimately the best. You knew 
this was the meaning of it — I could find twenty parallel 
passages in the lectures. Indeed, such expressions applied 
to bad actions had become a habit of my conversation. You 
had named, not unwittingly. Dr. Pangloss. And Heaven 
forbid that I should not now have faith that however 
foul your stream may run here, yet that it wall filtrate 
and become pure in its subterraneous passage to the Ocean 
of Universal Redemption. 

Thus far had I written when the necessities of literary 
occupation crowded upon me, and I met you in Redcliff, 
and, unsaluted and unsaluting, passed by the man to 
whom for almost a year I had told my last thoughts when 
I closed my eyes, and the first when I awoke. But " ere 
this I have felt sorrow ! " 

I shall proceed to answer your letters, and first ex- 
criminate myself, and then examine your conduct. You 
charge me with having industriously ti"umpeted your 
uncle's letter. When I mentioned my intended journey 
to Clevedon with Burnett, and was asked by my immedi- 
ate friends why you were not with us, should I have been 
silent and implied something mysterious, or have told an 
open untruth and made myself your accomplice ? I could 
do neither ; I answered that you were quite undetermined, 
but had some thoughts of returning to Oxford. To Dan- 
vers, indeed, and to Cottle I spoke more particularly, for 


I knew their prudence and their love for you — and my 
heart was very full. But to Mrs. Morgan I did not 
mention it. She met me in the streets, and said : " So ! 
Southey is going into the Church ! 'T is all concluded, 't is 
in vain to deny it ! " I answered : " You are mistaken ; 
you must contradict ; Southey has received a splendid 
offer, but he has not determined." This, I have some 
faint recollection, was my answer, but of this particular 
conversation my recollection is very faint. By what 
means she received the intelligence I know not ; probably 
from Mrs. Richardson, who might have been told it by 
Mr. Wade. A considerable time after, the subject was 
renewed at Mrs. Morgan's, Burnett and my Sara being 
present. Mrs. M. told me that you had asserted to her, 
that with regard to the Church you had barely hesitated, 
that you might consider your uncle's arguments, that 
you had given up no one principle — and that / was 
more your friend than ever. I own I was roused to an 
agony of passion ; nor was George Burnett undisturbed. 
Whatever I said that afternoon (and since that time I 
have but often repeated what I said, in gentler language) 
George Burnett did give his decided Ame?i to. And I 
said, Southey, that you had given up every principle — 
that confessedly you were going into the law, more oppo- 
site to your avowed principles, if possible, than even the 
Church — and that I had in my pocket a letter in which 
you charged me with having withdrawn my friendship ; 
and as to your barely hesitating about your uncle's pro- 
posal, I was obliged in my own defence to relate all that 
passed between us, all on which I had founded a convic- 
tion so directly opposite. 

I have, you say, distorted your conversation by " gross 
misrepresentation and wicked and calumnious falsehoods. 
It has been told me by Mrs. Morgan that I said : ' I have 
seen my error ! I have been drunk with principle ! ' " 
Just over the bridge, at the bottom of the High Street, 


returning one night from Redcliff Hill, in answer to my 
pressing contrast of your then opinions of the selfish 
kind with what you had formerly professed, you said : " I 
was intoxicated with the novelty of a system ! " That you 
said, " I have seen my error," I never asserted. It is 
doubtless implied in the sentence which you did say, but 
I never charged it to you as your expression. As to your 
reserving bank bills, etc., to yourself, the charge would 
have been so palpable a lie that I must have been mad- 
man as well as villain to have been guilty of it. If I 
had, George Burnett and Sara would have contradicted 
it. I said that your conduct in little things had aj)peared 
to me tinged with selfishness, and George Burnett at- 
tributed, and still does attribute, your defection to your 
unwillingness to share your expected annuity with us. 
As to the long catalogue of other lies, they not being 
particularised, I, of course, can say nothing about them. 
Tales may have been fetched and carried with embellish- 
ments calculated to improve them in everything but the 
truth. I spoke " the plain and simple truth " alone. 

And now for your conduct and motives. My hand 
trembles when I think what a series of falsehood and 
duplicity I am about to bring before the conscience of 
a man who has dared to write me that " his conduct has 
been uniformly open." I must revert to your first letter, 
and here you say : — 

" The plan you are going upon is not of sufficient im- 
portance to justify me to myself in abandoning a family, 
who have none to support them but me." The plan you 
are going upon ! What plan was I meditating, save to 
retire into the country with George Burnett and yourself, 
and taking by degrees a small farm, there be leay^ning 
to get my own bread by my bodily labour — and then to 
have all things in common — thus disciplining my body 
and mind for the successful practice of the same thing 
in America with more numerous associates ? And even if 


this sliould never be the case, ourselves and our children 
would form a society sufficiently large. And was not 
this your owti plan — the plan for the realising of which 
you invited me to Bristol ; the plan for which I abandoned 
my friends, and every prospect, and every certainty, and 
the woman whom I loved to an excess which you in your 
warmest dream of fancy could never shadow out ? When 
I returned from London, when you deemed pantisocracy 
a duty — duty imaltered by numbers — when you said, 
that, if others left it, you and George Burnett and your 
brother would stand firm to the post of virtue — what then 
were our circumstances? Sa^ang Lovell, our number 
was the same, yourself and Burnett and I. Our pros- 
pects were only an uncertain hoj)e of getting thirty shil- 
lings a week between us by writing for some London 
paper — for the remainder we were to rely on our agri- 
cultural exertions. And as to your family you stood 
precisely in the same situation as you now stand. You 
meant to take your mother with you, and your brother. 
And where, indeed, would have been the difficulty ? She 
would have earned her maintenance by her management 
and savings — considering the matter even in this cold- 
hearted way. But when you broke from us our prospects 
were brightening ; by the magazine or by poetry we might 
and should have g'ot ten omineas a month. 

But if you are acting right, I should be acting right in 
imitating you. What, then, would George Burnett do — 
he " whom you seduced 

" With other promises and other vaunts 
Than to repent, boasting you could subdue 
Temptation ! " 

He cannot go into the Church, for you did "give him 
principles"! and I wish that you had indeed "learnt 
from him how infinitely more to be valued is integrity of 
heart than effidgence of intellect." Nor can he go into 
the law, for the same principles declare against it, and he 


is not calculated for it. And his father will not support 
any expense of consequence relative to his further educa- 
tion — for Law or Physic he could not take his degree in, 
or be called to, without sinking of many hundred pounds. 
What, Southey, was George Burnett to do ? 

Then, even if you had persisted in your design of taking 
Orders, your motives would have been weak and shadowy 
and vile ; but when you changed your ground for the Law 
they were annihilated. No man dreams of getting bread 
in the Law, till six or eight years after his first entrance 
at the Temple. And how very few even then ? Before 
this time your brothers would have been put out, and the 
money which you must of necessity have sunk in a wicked 
profession would have given your brother an education, 
and provided a premium fit for the first comj)ting-house in 
the world. But I hear that you have again changed your 
ground. You do not now mean to study the Law, but to 
maintain yourself by your writings and on your promised 
annuity, which, you told Mrs. Morgan, would be more 
than a hundred a year. Could you not have done the 
same with ws f I neither have nor could deign to have a 
hundred a year. Yet by my own exertions I will struggle 
hard to maintain myself, and my wife, and my \\dfe's 
mother and my associate. Or what if j'ou dedicated this 
hundred a year to your family ? Would you not be pre- 
cisely as I am? Is not Geoi'ge Burnett aceiu'ate when he 
undoubtedly ascribes your conduct to an unparticipating 
propensity — to a total want of the boasted flocci-nauci- 
nihili-pilificating sense ? O selfish, money-loving man ! 
What principle have you not given up ? Though death had 
been the consequence, I would have spat in that man's 
face and called him liar, who should have spoken that last 
sentence concerning you nine months ago. For blindly 
did I esteem you. O God ! that such a mind should fall 
in love with that low, dirty, gutter-grubbing trull. Worldly 
Prudence ! 


Curse on all pride ! 'T is a harlot that buckrams her- 
self up in virtue only that she may fetch a higher price. 
'Tis a rock where virtue may be planted, but cannot 
strike root. 

Last of all, perceiving that your motives vanished at 
the first ray of examination, and that those accounts of 
your mother and family which had drawn easy tears 
down wrinkled cheeks had no effect on keener minds, 
your last resource has been to calumniate me. If there be 
in nature a situation perilous to honesty, it is this, when a 
man has not heart to he, yet lusts to seem virtuous. My 
indolence you assigned to Lovell as the reason for your 
quitting pantisocracy. Supposing it true, it might in- 
deed be a reason for rejecting me from the system. But 
how does this affect pantisocracy, that you should reject 
it f And what has Burnett done, that he should not be 
a worthy associate ? He who leaned on you with all his 
head and with all lais heart ; he who gave his all for 
pantisocracy, and expected that pantisocracy would be at 
least bread and cheese to him. But neither is the charge 
a true one. My own lectures I wrote for myself, eleven 
in niunber, excepting a very few pages which most reluc- 
tantly you eked out for me. And such pages ! I would 
not have suffered them to have stood in a lecture of yours. 
To your lectures I dedicated my whole mind and heart, 
and wrote one half in quantity ; but in quality you must 
be conscious that all the tug of brain was mine, and that 
your share was little more than transcription. I wrote 
with vast exertion of all my intellect the parts in the 
" Joan of Arc," and I corrected that and other poems 
with greater interest than I should have felt for my own. 
Then my own poems, and the recomposing of my lectures, 
besides a sermon, and the correction of some poems for a 
friend. I could have Avritten them in half the time and 
with less expense of thought. I write not these things 
boastfully, but to excriminate myself. The truth is, you 


sat down and wrote ; I used to saunter about and think 
what I should write. And we ought to appreciate our 
comparative industry by the quantum of mental exertion, 
not tlie particular mode of it — by the number of thoughts 
collected, not by the number of lines through which these 
thoughts are diffused. But I will suppose myself guilty 
of the charge. How would an honest man have reasoned 
in your letter and how acted ? Thus : " Here is a man 
who has abandoned all for what I believe to be virtue. 
But he professed himself an imj)erfect being when he 
offered himself an associate to me. He confessed that all 
his valuable qualities were ' sloth-jaundiced,' and in his 
letters is a bitter self-accuser. This man did not deceive 
me. I accepted of him in the hopes of curing him, but I 
half despair of it. How shall I act ? I will tell him 
fully and firmly, that much as I love him I love pantiso- 
cracy more, and if in a certain time I do not see this dis- 
qualifying ]3ropensity subdued, I must and w^ill reject 
him." Such would have been an honest man's reasoning, 
such his conduct. Did you act so ? Did you even men- 
tion to me, " face to face," my indolence as a motive for 
your recent conduct ? Did you ever mention it in Peirce- 
field Walks ? and some time after, that night when you 
scattered some heart-chilling sentiments, and in great 
agitation I did ask you solemnly whether you disapproved 
of anything in my conduct, and you answered, ''' Nothing. 
I like you better now than at the commencement of our 
friendship ! " an answer which so startled Sara, that she 
affronted you into angry silence by exclaiming, " What 
a story ! " George Burnett, I believe, was present. This 
happened after all our lectures, after every one of those 
proofs of indolence on which you must found your charge. 
A charge which with what indignation did you receive 
when brought against me by Lovell ! Yet then there was 
some shew for it. I had been criminally indolent. But 
since then I have exerted myself more than I corJd have 

1796] TO JOSIAH WADE 151 

supposed myself capable. Enough ! I heard for the 
first time on Thursday that you were to set oif for Lisbon 
on Saturday morning. It gives me great pain on many 
accounts, but principally that those moments which should 
be sacred to your affections may be disturbed by this 
long letter. 

Southey, as far as hapjjiness will be conducive to your 
virtue, which alone is final happiness, may you possess it ! 
You have left a large void in my heart. I know no man 
big enough to fill it. Others I may love equally, and 
esteem equally, and some perhaps I may admire as much. 
But never do I expect to meet another man, who will 
make me unite attachment for his person with reverence 
for his heart and admiration of his genius. I did not 
only venerate you for your own virtues, I prized you as 
the sheet-anchor of mine ; and even as a poet my vanity 
knew no keener gratification than your praise. But these 
things are passed by like as when a hungry man dreams, 
and lo ! he feasteth, but he awakes and his soul is empty. 

May God Almighty bless and preserve you ! and may 
you live to know and feel and acknowledge that unless 
we accustom ourselves to meditate adoringly on Him, the 
source of all virtue, no virtue can be permanent. 

Be assured that G. Burnett still loves you better than 
he can love any other man, and Sara would have you 
accept her love and blessing ; accept it as the future hus- 
band of her best loved sister. Farewell ! 



Nottingham, Wednesday morning, January 27, 1796. 

My dear Friend, — You will perceive by this letter 
that I have changed my route. From Birmingham, which 

^ During' tlie course of his tour ridge wrote seven times to Josiah 
(January-February, 1796) to procure Wade. Portions of these letters 
subscribers for the Watchman, Cole- have been published in Cottle's ^arZy 


I quitted on Friday last (four o'clock in the morning), I 
proceeded to Derby, stayed there till Monday morning, and 
am now at Nottingham. From Nottingham I go to Shef- 
field ; from Sheffield to Manchester ; from Manchester to 
Liverpool ; from Liverpool to London ; from London to 
Bristol. Ah, what a weary way ! My poor crazy ark has 
been tossed to and fro on an ocean of business, and I long 
for the Mount Ararat on which it is to rest. At Bir- 
mingham I was extremely unwell. . . . Business succeeded 
very well there ; about an hundred subscribers, I think. 
At Derby tolerably well. Mr. Strutt (the successor to 
Sir Richard Arkwright) tells me I may count on forty or 
fifty in Derby and round about. 

Derby is full of curiosities, the cotton, the silk mills, 
Wright,^ the painter, and Dr. Darwin, the everything, ex- 
cept the Christian ! ^ Dr. Darwin possesses, perhaps, a 
greater range of knowledge than any other man in Europe, 
and is the most inventive of philosophical men. He thinks 
in a new train on all subjects except religion. He ban- 
tered me on the subject of religion. I heard all his argu- 
ments, and told him that it was infinitely consoling to 
me, to find that the arguments which so great a man ad- 
duced against the existence of a God and the evidences 
of revealed religion were such as had startled me at fif- 
teen, but had become the objects of my smile at twenty. 
Not one new objection — not even an ingenious one. 

BecoUections, i. 164-176, and in the periment with the Air Pump, was pre- 

" Biographical Supplement " to the sented to the National Gallery in 

Siographia Literaria, U. 349-354. ]S63. 

It is probable that Wade supplied - Compare Biorjraphia Literaria^ 
funds for the journey, and that Cole- ch. i. " During my lirst Cambridge 
ridge felt himself bound to give an vacation I assisted a friend in a con- 
account of his progress and success. tribution for a literary society in 
^ Joseph Wright, A R. A., known Devonshire, and in that I remember 
as Wright of Derby, 1736-1797. to have compared Darwin's works to 
Two of his most celebrated pictures the Russian palace of ice, glittering, 
were The Head of UUeswater, and cold, and transitory." Coleridge's 
The Dead Soldier. An excellent Works, Harper & Bros., 1853, iii. 
specimen of 'Wright's work, An Ex- 155. 

1796] TO JOSIAH WADE 153 

He boasted that he had never read one book in defence 
of such stuffs but he had read all the works of infidels ! 
What should you think, Mr. Wade, of a man, who, hav- 
ing abused and ridiculed you, should openly declare that 
he had heard all that your enemies had to say against 
you, but had scorned to enquire the truth from any of 
your own friends ? Would you think him an honest 
man? I am sure you would not. Yet of such are all 
the infidels with whom I have met. They talk of a sub- 
ject infinitely important, yet are proud to confess them- 
selves profoundly ignorant of it. Dr. Darwin would have 
been ashamed to have rejected Hutton's theory of the 
earth 1 without having minutely examined it; yet what 
is it to us hoio the earth was made, a thing impossible 
to be known, and useless if known ? This system the 
doctor did not reject without having severely studied it ; 
but all at once he makes up his mind on such impor- 
tant subjects, as whether we be the outcasts of a blind 
idiot called Nature, or the children of an all-wise and 
infinitely good God ; whether we spend a few miserable 
years on this earth, and then sink into a clod of the val- 
ley, or only endure the anxieties of mortal life in order 
to fit us for the enjoyment of immortal happiness. These 
subjects are unworthy a philosopher's investigation. He 
deems that there is a certain self-evidence in infidelity, 
and becomes an atheist by intuition. Well did St. Paul 
say: "Ye have an evil heai^t of unbelief." I had an 
introductory letter from Mr. Strutt to a Mr. Fellowes of 
Nottingham. On Monday evening when I arrived I found 
there was a public dinner in honour of Mr. Fox's birthday, 
and that Mr. Fellowes was present. It was a piece of 
famous good luck, and I seized it, waited on Mr. Fel- 
lowes, and was introduced to the company. On the right 
hand of the president whom should I see but an old Col- 

1 Dr. James Hutton, the author of the Earth was published at Edin- 
the Plutonian theory. His Theory of burgh in 1795. 


lege acquaintance ? He hallooed out : " Coleridge, hy 
Godf'' Mr. Wright, the j)resident of the day, was his 
relation — a man of immense fortune. I dined at his 
house yesterday, and underwent the intolerable slavery of 
a dinner of three courses. We sat down at four o'clock, 
and it was six before the cloth was removed. 

What lovely children Mr. Barr at Worcester has ! 
After church, in the evening, they sat round and sang 
hymns so sweetly that they overwhelmed me. It was 
with great difficulty I abstained from weejaing aloud — 
and the infant in Mrs. Barr's arms leaned forwards, 
and stretched his little arms, and stared and smiled. It 
seemed a picture of Heaven, where the different orders of 
the blessed join different voices in one melodious allelu- 
jah ; and the baby looked like a young spirit just that 
moment arrived in Heaven, startling at the seraphic songs, 
and seized at once with wonder and rapture. 

My kindest remembrances to Mrs. Wade, and believe 
me, with gratitude and unfeigned friendship, your 



Redcliff Hill, February 22, 1796. 
Mt dear Sir, — It is my duty and business to thank 
God for all his dispensations, and to believe them the best 
possible ; but, indeed, I think I should have been more 
thankfid, if he had made me a journeyman shoemaker, 
instead of an author by trade. I have left my friends ; I 
have left plenty ; I have left that ease which would have 
secured a literary immortality, and have enabled me to 
give the public works conceived in moments of inspira- 
tion, and polished with leisurely solicitude ; and alas ! for 

what have I left them ? for who deserted me in the 

hour of distress, and for a scheme of virtue impracticable 
and romantic ! So I am forced to write for bread ; write 
the flights of poetic enthusiasm, when every minute I am 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 155 

hearing a groan from my wife. Groans, and complaints, 
and sickness ! The present hour I am in a quick-set 
hedge of embarrassment, and whichever way I turn a 
thorn runs into me ! The future is cloud and thick dark- 
ness I Poverty, perhaps, and the thin faces of them that 
want bread, looking up to me ! Nor is this all. My hap- 
piest moments for composition are broken in upon by the 
reflection that I must make haste. I am too late ! I am 
already months behind ! I have received my pay before- 
hand ! Oh, wayward and desultory spirit of genius ! Ill 
canst thou brook a taskmaster ! The tenderest touch 
from the hand of obligation wounds thee like a scourge 
of scorpions. 

I have been composing in the fields this morning, and 
came home to write down the first rude sheet of my pref- 
ace, when I heard that your man had brought a note 
from you. I have not seen it, but I guess its contents. 
I am writing as fast as I can. Depend on it you shall 
not be out of pocket for me ! I feel what I owe you, and 
independently of this I love you as a friend ; indeed, so 
much, that I regret, seriously regret, that you have been 
my copyholder. 

If I have written petulantly, forgive me. God knows 
I am sore all over. God bless you, and believe me that, 
setting gratitude aside, I love and esteem you, and have 
your interest at heart full as much as my own. 



March 30, 1796. 
My dear Poole, — For the neglect in the ti-ansmis- 
sion of " The Watchman," you must blame George Bur- 
nett, who undertook the business. I however will myself 
see it sent this week with the preceding numbers. I am 
greatly obliged to you for your communication (on the 
Slave Trade in No. V.) ; it appears in this number, and 


I am anxious to receive more from you, and likewise to 
know what you dislike in " The Watchman," and what 
you like ; but particularly the former. You have not 
given me your opinion of " The Plot Discovered." ^ 

Since last you saw me I have been well nigh distracted. 
The repeated and most injurious blunders of my jDrinter 
out-of-doors, and Mrs. Coleridge's increasing danger at 
home, added to the gloomy prospect of so many mouths 
to open and shut like puppets, as I move the string in the 
eating and drinking way — but why complain to you? 
Misery is an article with which every market is so glutted, 
that it can answer no one's purpose to export it. Alas ! 
Alas f oh ! ah ! oh ! oh ! etc. 

I have received many abusive letters, post-paid, thanks 
to the friendly malignants ! But I am perfectly callous 
to disapprobation, except when it tends to lessen profit. 
There, indeed, I am all one tremble of sensibility, mar- 
riage having taught me the wonderful uses of that A^idgar 
commodity, yclept bread. " The Watchman " succeeds 
so as to yield a bread-and-cheesish profit. Mrs. Coleridge 
is recovering apace, and deeply regrets that she was de- 
prived of seeing [you] . We are in our new house, where 
there is a bed at your service whenever you will please to 
delight us with a visit. Surely in spring you might force 
a few days into a sojourning with me. 

Dear Poole, you have borne yourself towards me most 
kindly with respect to my epistolary ingratitude. But I 
know that you forbade yourself to feel resentment towards 
me because you had previou.sly made my neglect ingrati- 
tude. A generous temper endures a great deal from one 
whom it has obliged deeply. 

My poems are finished. I will send you two copies the 

^ The title of this pamphlet, which It had an outer wrapper with this 

was published shortly after the Con- half-title : " A Protest against Cer- 

ciones ad Populum, was " The Plot tain Wills. Bristol : Printed for the 

Discovered; or, an Address to the Author, November 28, 1795." It is 

People against Ministerial Treason, reprinted in Essays on Sis Own 

By S. T. Coleridge. Bristol, 1795." Times, i. 56-98. 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 157 

moment tliey are published. In tlie third number of 
"The Watchman" there are a few lines entitled "The 
Hour when we shall meet again," " Dim hour that sleeps 
on pillowy clouds afar^'' which I think you will like. I 
have received two or three letters from different anonymi^ 
requesting me to give more poetry. One of them writes : — 

" Sir ! I detest your principles ; your prose I think 
very so-so ; but your poetry is so exquisitely beautiful, so 
gorgeously sublime, that I take in your ' Watchman ' 
solely on account of it. In justice therefore to me and 
some others of my stamp, I intreat you to give us more 
verse and less democratic scurrility. Your admirer, — 
not esteemer." 

Have you read over Dr. Lardner on the Logos ? It is, 
I think, scarcely possible to read it and not be convinced. 

I find that " The Watchman" comes more easy to me, 
so that I shall begin about my Christian Lectures. I will 
immediately order for you, unless you immediately coun- 
termand it. Count Rumford's Essays ; in No. V. of " The 
Watchman" you will see why. I have enclosed Dr. Bed- 
does's late pamphlets, neither of them as yet published. 
The doctor sent them to me. I can get no one but the 
doctor to agTce with me in my opinion that Burke's " Let- 
ter to a Noble Lord " ^ is as contemptible in style as in 
matter — it is sad stuff. 

My dutiful love to your excellent mother, whom, believe 
me, I think of frequently and with a pang of affection. 
God bless you. I '11 try and venture to scribble a line 
and a half every time the man goes with " The Watch- 
man" to you. 

N. B. The " Essay on Fasting " 2 J am ashamed of ; 
but it is one of my misfortunes that I am obliged to pub- 
lish extempore as well as compose. God bless you, 

and S. T. Coleridge. 

^ THe renew of " Burke's Letter man, is reprinted in Essays on His 
to a Noble Lord," which appeared Own Times, i. 107-119. 
in the first number of The Watch- ^ Ibid. 120-126. 



12th May, 1796. 

Poole ! The Spirit, who counts the throbbings of the 
solitary heart, knows that what my feelings ought to be, 
such they are. If it were in my power to give you any- 
thing which I have not already given, I should be op- 
pressed by the letter now before me.^ But no ! I feel 
myself rich in being poor ; and because I have nothing to 
bestow, I know how much I have bestowed. Perhaps I 
shall not make myself intelligible ; but the strong and 
unmixed affection which I bear to you seems to exclude 
all emotions of gratitude, and renders even the jDrinciple 
of esteem latent and inert. Its presence is not percepti- 
ble, though its absence could not be endured. 

Concerning the scheme itself, I am undetermined. Not 
that I am ashamed to receive — God forbid ! I will make 
every possible exertion ; my industry shall be at least com- 
mensurate with my learning and talents ; — if these do not 
procure for me and mine the necessary comforts of life, I 
can receive as I would bestow, and, in either case — receiv- 
ing or bestowing — be equally gratefid to my Almighty 
Benefactor. I am undetermined, therefore — not because 
I receive with pain and reluctance, but — because I sus- 
pect that you attribute to others your ovm enthusiasm of 
benevolence ; as if the sun should say, " With how rich a 
purple those opposite windows are burning ! "" But with 
God's permission I shall talk with you on this subject. By 
the last page of No. X. you will perceive that I have this 
day dropped " The Watchman." On Monday morning I 

^ The occasion of this " burst of ton," as " a trifling mark of their 

affectionate feeling " was a eomniu- esteem, gratitude, and affection." 

nication from Poole that seven or The subscriptions were paid in 1796- 

eight friends had undertaken to sub- 97, but afterwards discontinued on 

scribe a sum of £35 or £40 to be the receipt of the Wedgwood annu- 

paid annually to the " author of the ity. See Thomas Poole and his 

monody on the death of Chatter- Friends, i. 1-42. 


will go "per caravan to Bridge water, where, if you have a 
horse of tolerable meekness unemployed, you will let him 
meet me. 

I should blame you for the exaggerated terms in which 
you have spoken of me in the Proposal, did I not per- 
ceive the motive. You wished to make it appear an offer- 
ing — not a favour — and in excess of delicacy have, I 
fear, fallen into some grossness of flattery. 

God bless you, my dear, very dear Friend. The widow ^ 
is calm, and amused with her beautiful infant. We are 
all become more religious than we were. God be ever 
praised for all things ! Mrs. Coleridge begs her kind love 
to you. To your dear mother my filial respects. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


May 13, 1796. 
My dear Thelwall, — You have given me the affec- 
tion of a brother, and I repay you in kind. Your let- 
ters demand my friendship and deserve my esteem ; the 
zeal with which you have attacked my supposed delusions 
proves that you are deeply interested for me, and inter- 
ested even to agitation for what you believe to be truth. 
You deem that I have treated " systems and opinions with 
the furious prejudices of the conventicle, and the illiberal 
dogmatism of the cynic ; " that I have " layed about me 
on tliis side and on that with the sledge hammer of abuse." 
I have, you think, imitated the " old sect in politics and 
morals " in their " outrageous violence," and have sunk 
into the "clownish fierceness of intolerant prejudice." I 
have " branded " the presumptuous children of scepticism 
" with vile epithets and hunted them down with abuse." 
" These he hard words, Citizen ! and I ivill he hold to 
say they are not to he justified'''' by the unfortunate page 

^ Mrs. Robert Lovell, whose hiis- about two years after his marriage 
band had been carried off by a fever with my aunt. — S. C. 


wliich has occasioned them. The only passage in it which 
appears offensive (I am not now inquiring concerning the 
truth or falsehood of this or the remaining passages) is 
the following : " You have studied Mr. G.'s Essay on 
Politi[cal] Jus[tice] — but to think filial affection folly, 
gratitude a crime, marriage injustice, and the promiscuous 
intercourse of the sexes right and wise, may class you 
among the despisers of vulgar prejudices, but cannot in- 
crease the probability that you are a jjatriot. But you 
act up to your princij^les — so much the worse. Your 
principles are villainous ones. I would not entrust my wife 
or sister to you ; think you I would entrust my coun- 
try ? " My dear Thelwall ! how are these opinions con- 
nected with the conventicle more than with the Stoa, the 
Lyceum, or the grove of Academus ? I do not perceive 
that to attack adultery is more characteristic of Christian 
prejudices than of the prejudices of the disciples of Aris- 
totle, Zeno, or Socrates. In truth, the offensive sentence, 
"Your principles are villainous," was suggested by the 
Peripatetic Sage who divides bad men into two classes. 
The first he calls " wet or intemperate sinners " — men 
who are hurried into vice by their appetites, but acknow- 
ledge their actions to be vicious ; these are reclaimable. 
The second class he names dry ^dllains — men who are not 
only vicious but who (the steams from the polluted heart 
rising up and gathering round the head) have brought 
themselves and others to believe that vice is virtue. We 
mean these men when we say men of bad priucij^les — 
guilt is out of the question. I am a necessarian, and of 
course deny the possibility of it. However, a letter is not 
the place for reasoning. In some form or other, or by 
some channel or other, I shall publish my critique on the 
New Philosophy, and, I trust, shall demean myself not tni- 
ge7itly, and disappoint yoiu- auguries. ..." But, you can- 
not be a patriot unless you are a Christian." Yes, Thel- 
wall, the disciples of Lord Shaftesbury and Rousseau as 


well as of Jesus — but the man who suffers not his hopes 
to wander beyond the objects of sense will in general be 
sensual, and I again assert that a sensualist is not likely 
to be a patriot. Have I tried these opinions by the double 
test of argument and example ? I thi7ik so. The first 
would be too large a field, the second some following sen- 
tences of your letter forced me to. . . . Gerrald ^ you in- 
sinuate is an atheist. Was he so, when he offered those 
solemn prayers to God Ahnighty at the Scotch conventi- 
cle, and was this sincerity ? But Dr. Darwin and (I sup- 
pose from his actions) Gerrald think sincerity a folly and 
therefore vicious. Your atheistic brethren square their 
moral systems exactly according to their inclinations. 
Gerrald and Dr. Darwin are polite and good-natured men, 
and willing to attain at good by attainable roads. They 
deem insincerity a necessary virtue in the present imper- 
fect state of our nature. Godwin, whose very heart is 
cankered by the love of singularity, and who feels no dis- 

1 Compare Condones ad Pqpulum, Godwin and his other friends were 

1795, p. 22. " Such is Joseph Ger- allowed to visit him. ... In May, 

raid ! Withering in the sickly and 1795, he was suddenly taken from 

tainted gales of a prison, his health- his prison and placed on hoard the 

ful soul looks down from the citadel hulks, and soon afterwards sailed, 

of his integrity on his impotent per- He survived his arrival in New 

seeutors. I saw him in the foul and South Wales only five months. A 

naked room of a jail; his cheek was few hours before he died, he said to 

sallow with confinement, his body the fiiends around him, ' I die in the 

was emaciated ; yet his eye spake best of causes, and, as you witness, 

the invincible purpose of his soul, without repining.' " Mrs. Shelley's 

and he still sounded with rapture the Notes, as quoted by Mr. C Kegan 

successes of Freedom, forgetful of Paul in his William Godwin, i. 125. 

his own lingering martyrdom." See, too, "the very noble letter" 

Together with four others, Gerrald (January 23, 1794) addressed by 
was tried for sedition at Edinburgh Godwin to Gerrald relative to his 
in March, 1794. He delivered an defence. Ibid. i. 125. Lords Cock- 
eloquent speech in his own defence, burn and Jeffrey considered the 
but with the other prisoners was conviction of these men a gross mis- 
convicted and sentenced to be trans- carriage of justice, and in 1844 a 
ported for fifteen years. " In April monument was erected at the foot 
Gerrald was removed to London, of the Calton HOI, Edinburgh, to 
and committed to Newgate, where their memory. 


inclination to wound by abrupt harshness, pleads for abso- 
lute sincerity, because such a system gives him a frequent 
opportunity of indulging his misanthropy. Poor Wil- 
liams,^ the Welsh bard (a very meek man), brought the 
tear into my eye by a simple narration of the manner in 
which Godwin insulted him under the pretence of reproof, 
and Thomas Walker of Manchester told me that his in- 
dignation and contempt were never more powerfully ex- 
cited than by an unfeeling and insolent sjieech of the said 
Godwin to the poor Welsh bard. Scott told me some 
shocking stories of Godwin. His base and anonymous at- 
tack on you is enough for me. At that time I had pre- 
pared a letter to him, which I was about to have sent to 
the "Morning Chronicle," and I convinced Dr. Beddoes 
by passages from the " Tribime " of the calumnious nature 
of the attack. I was once and only once in company 
with Godwin. He appeared to me to possess neither the 
strength of intellect that discovers truth, nor the powers 
of imagination that decorate falsehood ; he talked sophisms 
in jejune language. I like Holcroft a thousand times bet- 
ter, and think him a man of much greater ability. Fierce, 
hot, petulant, the very high priest of atheism, he hates 
God " with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his 
soul, and with all his strength." Every man not an athe- 
ist is only not a fool. " Dr. Priestley? there is a, j^tetitesse 
in his mind. Hartley? pshaw! Godwi?!, sir, is a thou- 
sand times a better metaj)hysician ! " But this intolerance 

1 Edward Williams (lolo Mor- " The tliree principal considerations 

gangw), 1747-1S2G. His poems in of poetical description : what is 

two volumes were published by sub- ob^'ious, what instantly engages the 

scription in 1794. Coleridge pos- affections, and what is strikingly 

sessed a copy presented to him "by characteristic." The comment is as 

the author," and on the last page of follows : " I suppose, rather what we 

the second volume he has scrawled recollect to have frequently seen in 

a single but characteristic marginal nature, though not in the description 

note. It is affixed to a translation of it." 
of one of the " Poetic Triades." 


is founded on benevolence. (I had almost forgotten that 
horrible story about his son.) 

On the subject of using sugar, etc., I will write you a 
long and serious letter. This grieves me more than you 
[imagine]. I hope I shall be able by severe and un- 
adorned reasoning to convince you you are wrong. 

Your remarks on my poems are, I think, just in gen- 
eral ; there is a rage and affectation of double epithets. 
" Unshuddered, unaghasted " is, indeed, truly ridiculous. 
But why so violent against meta'physics in poetry ? Is not 
Akenside's a metaphysical poem ? Perhaps you do not 
like Akenside ? Well, but / cZo, and so do a great many 
others. Why pass an act of w^it/brmi^y against j)oets? I 
received a letter from a very sensible friend abusing love 
verses ; another blaming the introduction of politics, " as 
wider from true poetry than the equator from the poles." 
" Some for each " is my motto. That poetry pleases which 
interests. My religious poetry interests the religious^ 
who read it with rapture. Why ? Because it awakes in 
them aU the associations connected with a love of future 
existence, etc. A very dear friend of mine,^ who is, in 

^ The allusion must be to Words- tol in 1795," — an imperfect recol- 
worth, but there is a difficulty as to lectionvery difficult to reconcile with 
dates. In a MS. note to the second other known facts. Secondly, there is 
edition of his poems (1797) Cole- Sara Coleridge's statement that "Mr. 
ridge distinctly states that he had no Coleridge and Mr. Wordsworth first 
personal acquaintance with Words- met in the house of Mr. Pinney," in 
worth as early as March, 1796. the spring or summer of 1795 ; and, 
Again, in a letter (Letter LXXXI. ) thirdly, it Avould appear from a let- 
to Estlin dated "May [? 1797]," ter of Lamb to Coleridge, which be- 
but certainly written in May, 1798, longs to the summer of 1796, that 
Coleridge says that he has known "the personal acquaintance" with 
Wordsworth for a year and some Wordsworth had already begun. The 
months. On the other hand, there is probable conclusion is that there was 
Mrs. Wordsworth's report of her bus- a first meeting in 1795, and occa- 
band's "impression" that he first sional intercourse in 1796, but that 
met Coleridge, Southey, Sara, and intimacy and friendship date from 
Edith Fricker " in a lodging in Bris- the visit to Racedown in June, 1797, 


my opinion, the best poet of the age (I will send you his 
poem when published), thinks that the lines from 364 to 
375 and from 403 to 428 the best in the volume, — indeed, 
worth all the rest. And this man is a republican, and, at 
least, a semi-atheist. Why do you object to " shadowy of 
truth " ? It is, I acknowledge, a Grecism, but, I think, 
an elegant one. Your remarks on the della-crusca place 
of emphasis are just in part. Where we wish to point out 
the thing, and the quality is mentioned merely as a deco- 
ration, this mode of emphasis is indeed absurd ; therefore, 
I very patiently give up to critical vengeance " high tree," 
" sore wounds," and '"''rough rock;" but when you wish 
to dwell chiefly on the quality rather than the thing, 
then this mode is proper, and, indeed, is used in common 
conversation. Who says good man f Therefore, " hig 
soul," " cold earth," '■'■dark womb," and ^'•fiamy child" are 
all right, and introduce a variety into the versification, 
[which is] an advantage where you can attain it without 
any sacrifice of sense. As to harmony, it is all associa- 
tion. Milton is harmonious to me, and I absolutely nau- 
seate Darwin's poems. 

Yours affectionately, 

John Thelwall, 

Beaufort Buildings, Strand, London. 


May 29, 1796. 

My dear Poole, — This said caravan does not leave 
Bridgewater till nine. In the market place stands the 

Coleridge quotes Wordsworth in his only have been ' ' his very dear 

"Lines from Shurton Bars," dated friend" sensu poetico. Life of W. 

September, 1795, but the first trace Wordsworth, i. Ill ; Biographical 

of Wordsworth's influence on style Sn-p-plement to BiograpMa Literaria, 

and thought appears in " This Lime- chapter ii. ; Letters of Charles Lamb, 

Tree Bower my Prison," July, 1797. Macmillan, 1888, i. 6. 
In May, 1796, Wordsworth could 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 165 

hustings. I mounted it, and, pacing the boards, mused 
on bribery, false swearing, and other foibles of election 
times. I have wandered, too, by the river Parret, which 
looks as filthy as if all the j)arrots of the House of 
Commons had been washing their consciences therein. 
Dear gutter of Stowey ! ^ Were I transported to Italian 
plains, and lay by the side of the streamlet that mur- 
mured through an orange grove, I would think of thee, 
dear gutter of Stowey, and wish that I were poring on 

So much by way of rant. I have eaten three eggs, 
swallowed sundries of tea and bread and butter, purely for 
the purpose of amusing myself ! I have seen the horse 
fed. When at Cross, where I shall dine, I shall think of 
your happy dinner, celebrated under the auspices of hum- 
ble independence, supported by brotherly love ! I am 
writing, you understand, for no worldly purjDose but that 
of avoiding anxious thoughts. Apropos of honey-pie, 
Caligula or Elagabalus (I forget which) had a dish of 
nightingales' tongues served up. What think you of the 
stings of bees ? God bless you ! My filial love to your 
mother, and fraternity to your sister. Tell Ellen Cruik- 
shank that in my next parcel to you I will send my 
Haleswood poem to her. Heaven protect her and you 
and Sara and your mother and, like a bad shilling passed 
off between a handful of guineas, 

Your affectionate friend and brother, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. — Don't forget to send by Milton [carrier] my 
old clothes, and linen that once was clean, etcetera. A 
pretty loeriphrasis that ! 

^ On the side of the road, oppo- through which a stream passes. See 
site to Poole's house in Castle Street, Thomas Poole and his Friends, i. 
Nether Stowey, is a straight gutter 147. 



Wednesday, June 22, 1796. 

Dear Thelwall, — That I have not written you has 
been an act of self-denial, not indolence. I heard that 
you were electioneering, and would not be the occasion 
that any of your thoughts should diverge from that focus. 

I wish very much to see you. Have you given uj) the 
idea of spending a few weeks or month at Bristol ? You 
might be viahing vmy in your review of Burke's life and 
writings, and give us once or twice a week a lecture, which 
I doubt not would be crowded. We have a large and 
every way excellent library, to which I coidd make you a 
temporary subscriber, that is, I would get a subscription 
ticket transferred to you. 

You are certainly well calculated for the review you 
meditate. Your answer to Burke is, I will not say, the 
best, for that would be no praise ; it is certainly the only 
good one, and it is a very good one. In style and in 
reflectiveness it is, I think, your chef d'oeuvre. Yet the 
" Peripatetic " ^ — for which accept my thanks — pleased 
me more because it let me into your heart ; the poetry is 
frequently sweet and possesses the flre of feeling, but not 
enough (I think) of the light of fancy. I am sorry that 
you should entertain so degrading an opinion of me as to 
imagine that I industriously collected anecdotes unfavour- 
able to the characters of great men. No, Thelwall, but I 
cannot shut my ears, and I have never given a moment's 
belief to any one of those stories unless when they were 
related to me at different times by professed democrats. 
My vice is of the opposite class, a precipitance in praise ; 
witness my panegyric on Gerrald and that hlach gentle- 
man Margarot in the " Conciones," and my foolish verses 

^ The Peripatetic, or Sketches of a miscellany of prose and verse is- 
the Heart, of Nature, and of Society, sued by John Thelwall, in 1793. 


to Godwin in the " Morning Chronicle." ^ At the same 
time, Thelwall, do not suppose that I admit your pallia- 
tions. Doubtless I could fill a book with slanderous sto- 
ries of 'profeased Christians, but those very men would 
allow they were acting contrary to Christianity; but, I 
am afraid, an atheistic bad man manufactures his system 
of principles with an eye to his peculiar propensities, and 
makes his actions the criterion of what is virtuous, not 
virtue the criterion of his actions. Where the disjjosition 
is not amiable, an acute understanding I deem no bless- 
ing. To the last sentence in your letter I subscribe fully 
and with all my inmost affections. " He who thinks and 
feels will be virtuous ; and he who is absorbed in self 
will be vicious, whatever maybe his speculative opinions." 
Believe me, Thelwall, it is not his atheism that has pre- 
judiced me against Godwin, but Godwin who has, per- 
haps, prejudiced me against atheism. Let me see you —- 
I already know a deist, and Calviiiists, and Moravians 
whom I love and reverence — and I shall leap forwards to 
realise my principles by feeling love and honour for an 
atheist. By the bye, are you an atheist ? For I was told 
that Hutton was an atheist, and procured his three massy 
quartos on the principle of knowledge in the hopes of 
finding some arguments in favor of atheism, but lo ! I 
discovered him to be a profoundly pious deist, — "inde- 
pendent of fortune, satisfied with himself, pleased with his 
species, confident in his Creator." 

God bless you, my dear Thelwall ! Believe me with 
high esteem and anticipated tenderness, 

Yours sincerely, S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. We have a himdred lovely scenes about Bristol, 
which would make you exclaim, O admirable Nature 1 
and me, O Gracious God I 

' January 10, 1795. See 'Poetical one of those tried and transported 
Works, p 41, and Editor's Note, p. with Gerrald. 
575. Margarot, a West Indian, waa 



Saturday, September 24, 1796. 

My dear, very dear Poole, — The heart thoroughly 
penetrated with the flame of virtuous friendship is in a 
state of glory ; but lest it should be exalted above meas- 
ure there is given it a thorn in the flesh. I mean that 
when the friendship of any person forms an essential 
part of a man's happiness, he will at times be pestered 
by the little jealousies and solicitudes of imbecile hu- 
manity. Since we last joarted I have been gloomily 
dreaming that you did not leave me so affectionately as 
you were wont to do. Pardon this littleness of heart, and 
do not think the worse of me for it. Indeed, my soul 
seems so mantled and wrapped aroimd by your love and 
esteem, that even a dream of losing but the smallest 
fragment of it makes me shiver, as though some tender 
part of my nature were left uncovered in nakedness. 

Last week I received a letter from Lloyd, informing 
me that his parents had given their joyful concurrence to 
his residence with me ; but that, if it were possible that 
I could be absent for three or four days, his father wished 
particularly to see me. I consulted iSIrs. Coleridge, who 
advised me to go. . . . Accordingly on Saturday night I 
went by the mail to Birmingham and was introduced to 
the father, who is a mild man, ver}^ liberal in his ideas, 
and in religion an allegorizing QuaJcer. I mean that all 
the apparently irrational path of his sect he allegorizes 
into significations, which for the most part you or I might 
assent to. We became well acquainted, and he ex- 
pressed himself " thankful to heaven that his son was 
about to be with me." He said he would write to me 
concerning money matters after his son had been some 
time imder my roof. 

On Tuesday morning I was surprised by a letter from 
Mr. Maurice, our medical attendant, informing me that 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 169 

Mrs. Coleridge was delivered on Monday, September 19, 
1796, half past two in the morning, of a SON, and that 
both she and the child were uncommonly well. I was 
quite annihilated with the suddenness of the informa- 
tion, and retired to my own room to address myself to 
my Maker, but I could only offer up to Him the silence 
of stupefied feelings. I hastened home, and Charles 
Lloyd returned with me. When I first saw the child,^ I 
did not feel that thrill and overflowing of affection which 
I expected. I looked on it with a melancholy gaze ; my 
mind was intensely contemplative and my heart only sad. 
But when two hours after I saw it at the bosom of its 
mother, on her arm, and her eye tearful and watching 
its little features, then I was thrilled and melted, and 
gave it the kiss of a father. . . . The baby seems 
strong, and the old nurse has over-persuaded my wife to 
discover a likeness of me in its face — • no great compli- 
ment to me, for, in truth, I have seen handsomer babies 
in my lifetime. Its name is David Hartley Coleridge. 
I hope that ere he be a man, if God destines him for con- 
tinuance in this fife, his head will be convinced of, and 
his heart saturated with, the truths so ably supported by 
that great master of Christian Philosophy. 

Charles Lloyd wins upon me hourly ; his heart is un- 
commonly pure, his affection delicate, and his benevo- 
lence enlivened but not sicklied by sensibility. He is 
assuredly a man of great genius ; but it must be in tete- 
a-tete with one whom he loves and esteems that his collo- 
quial powers open ; and this arises not from reserve or 
want of simphcity, but from having been placed in situa- 
tions where for years together he met with no congenial 
minds, and where the contrariety of his thoughts and 
notions to the thoughts and notions of those around him 
induced the necessity of habitually suppressing his feel- 
ings. His joy and gratitude to Heaven for the circum- 
^ See Poetical Works, p. 66. 


stance of his domestication with me I can scarcely de- 
scribe to you ; and I believe that his fixed plans are of 
being always with me. His father told me that if he 
saw that his son had formed habits of severe economy he 
should not insist upon his adopting any profession ; as 
then his fair share of his (the father's) wealth woidd be 
sufficient for him. 

My dearest Poole, can you conveniently receive us in 
the course of a week ? We can both sleep in one bed, 
which we do now. And I have much, very much to say 
to you and consult with you about, for my heart is heavy 
respecting Derby ,^ and my feelings are so dim and hud- 
dled that though I can, I am sure, communicate them to 
you by my looks and broken sentences, I scarce know 
how to convey them in a letter. And Charles Lloyd 
wishes much to know you personally. I shall write on 
the other side of the paper two of Charles Lloyd's son- 
nets, which he wrote in one evening at Birmingham. The 
latter of them alludes to the conviction of the truth of 
Christianity, which he had received from me, for he had 
been, if not a deist, yet quite a sceptic. 

Let me hear from you by post immediately ; and give 
my kind love to that young man ■s^'ith the soid-beaming 
face,^ which I recollect much better than I do his name. 

God bless you, my dear friend. 

Believe me, with deep affection, your 

S. T. Coleridge. 

1 Early in the autumn of 1796. a - Thomas Ward, at first the arti- 

proposal had been made to Coleridge cled clerk, and afterwards partner 

that he should start a day school in in business and in good works, of 

Derby. Poole dissuaded him from Thomas Poole. He it was who tran- 

acceptint;- this offer, or rather, per- scribed in " Poole's Copying- Book " 

haps, Coleridge succeeded in procur- Coleridge's letters from Germany, 

ing Poole's disapproval of a plan and much of his correspondence be- 

which he himself dreaded and dis- sides. See Thomas Poole and his 

liked. Friends, i. 159, 160, 304, 305, etc. 

1796] TO CHARLES LAMB 171 


[September 28, 1796.] 
Your letter, my friend, struck me with a mighty horror. 
It rushed upon me and stupefied my feelings. You bid 
me write you a religious letter. I am not a man who 
would attempt to insult the greatness of your anguish by 
any other consolation. Heaven knows that in the easiest 
fortunes there is much dissatisfaction and weariness of 
spirit ; much that calls for the exercise of patience and 
resignation ; but in storms like these, that shake the 
dwelling and make the heart tremble, there is no middle 
way between despair and the yielding up of the whole 
spirit unto the guidance of faith. And surely it is a 
matter of joy that your faith in Jesus has been jji'e- 
served ; the Comforter that should relieve you is not far 
from you. But as you are a Christian, in the name of 
that Saviour, who was filled with bitterness and made 
drunken with wormwood, I conjure you to have recourse in 
frequent prayer to " his God and your God ; " the God of 
mercies, and father of all comfort. Your poor father is, 
I hope, almost senseless of the calamity ; the unconscious 

^ This letter, first printed in Gill- eternal partaker of the Divine na- 
man's Life, pp. 338-340, and since ture." Lamb thought that the 
reprinted in the notes to Canon expression savoured too much of 
Ainger's edition of LaniVs Letters theological subtlety, and outstepped 
(i. 314, 315), was written in response the modesty of weak and sufPering 
to a request of Charles Lamb in his humanity. Coleridge's " religious 
letter of September 27, 1796, an- letter " came from his heart, but he 
nouncing the " terrible calamities" was a born preacher, and naturally 
which had befallen his family, clothes his thoughts in rhetorical 
" Write me," said Lamb, " as re- language. I have seen a note Avrit- 
ligious a letter as possible." In his ten by him within a few hours of 
next letter, October 3, he says, '' Your his death, when he could scarcely 
letter is an inestimable treasure." direct his pen. It breathes the ten- 
But a few weeks later, October 24, derest loving-kindness, but the ex- 
he takes exception to the sentence, pressions are elaborate and formal. 
' You are a temporary sharer in It was only in poetry that he at- 
human miseries that you may be an tained to simplicity. 


instrument of Divine Providence knows it not, and your 
mother is in heaven. It is sweet to be roused from a 
frightfvil dream by the song of birds and the gladsome 
rays of the morning. Ah, how infinitely more sweet to 
be awakened from the blackness and amazement of a 
sudden horror by the glories of God manifest and the 
hallelujahs of angels. 

As to what regards yourself, I approve altogether of 
your abandoning what you justly call vanities. I look 
upon you as a man called by sorrow and anguish and 
a strange desolation of hopes into quietness, and a soul 
set apart and made peculiar to God ! We cannot arrive at 
any portion of heavenly bliss without in some measure 
imitating Christ ; and they arrive at the largest inherit- 
ance who imitate the most difficult parts of his character, 
and, bowed down and crushed underfoot, cry in fulness 
of faith, " Father, thy will be done." 

I wish above measure to have you for a little while 
here ; no visitants shall blow on the nakedness of your 
feelings ; you shall be quiet, and your spirit may be 
healed. I see no possible objection, vmless your father's 
helplessness prevent you, and unless you are necessary to 
him. If this be not the case, I charge you write me that 
you will come. 

I charge you, my dearest friend, not to dare to en- 
courage gloom or despair. You are a temporary sharer 
in human miseries that you may be an eternal partaker 
of the Divine nature. I charge you, if by any means 
it be possible, come to me. 

I remain your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge 


Saturday night, November 5, 1796. 

Thanks, my heart's warm thanks to you, my beloved 
friend, for your tender letter ! Indeed, I did not deserve 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 173 

so kind a one ; but by this time you have received my 

To live in a beautiful country, and to enure myself as 
much as possible to the labour of the field, have been for 
this year past my dream of the day, my sigh at midnight. 
But to enjoy these blessings near you, to see you daily, 
to tell you all my thoughts in their first birth, and to 
hear yours, to be mingling identities with you as it were, 

— the vision-wearing fancy has indeed often pictured such 
things, but hope never dared whisper a promise. Disap- 
pointment ! Disappointment ! dash not from my trem- 
bling hand the bowl which almost touches my lips. Envy 
me not this immortal draught, and I will forgive thee all 
thy persecutions. Forgive thee ! Impious! I will hless 
thee, black-vested minister of optimism, stern pioneer of 
happiness ! Thou hast been " the dotal " before me from 
the day that I left the flesh-pots of Egypt, and was led 
through the way of a wilderness — the cloud that hast 
been giiiding me to a land flowing with milk and honey 

— the milk of innocence, the honey of friendship ! 

I wanted such a letter as yours, for I am very unwell. 
On Wednesday night I w^as seized with an intolerable 
pain from my right temple to the tip of my right shoulder, 
including my right eye, cheek, jaw, and that side of the 
throat. I was nearly frantic, and ran about the house 
naked, endeavouring by every means to excite sensations 
in different parts of my body, and so to weaken the enemy 
by creating division. It continued from one in the morn- 
ing till half past five, and left me pale and fainting. It 
came on fitfully, but not so violently, several times on 
Thursday, and began severer threats towards night ; but 
I took between sixty and seventy drops of laudanum, ^ 

^ Coleridge must have resorted ber 21, 1791, he says, " Opium never 

occasionally to opiates long before used to have any disagreeable effects 

this. In an unpublished letter to on me." Most likely it was given 

his brother George, dated Novem- to him at Christ's Hospital, when he 




and sopped the Cerberus, just as his moutli began to open. 
On Friday it only niggled, as if the chief had departed 
from a conquered place, and merely left a small garri- 
son behind, or as if he had evacuated the Corsica,^ and a 

■was siiffering from rheumatic fever. 
In the sonnet on " Pain," which 
belongs to the summer of 1790, he 
speaks of "frequent pangs," of 
" seas of pain," and in the natural 
course of things opiates would have 
been prescribed by the doctors. Tes- 
timony of this nature appears at first 
sight to be inconsistent with state- 
ments made by Coleridge in later 
life to the effect that he began to 
take opium in the second year of his 
residence at Keswick, in consequence 
of rheumatic pains brought on by 
the damp climate. It was, how- 
ever, the first commencement of the 
secret and habitual resort to nar- 
cotics which weighed on memory 
and conscience, and there is abundant 
evidence that it was not till the late 
spring of 1801 that he could be said 
to be under the dominion of opium. 
To these earlier indulgences in the 
" accursed drug," which probably 
left no "disagreeable effects," and 
of which, it is to be remarked, he 
speaks openly, he seems to have at- 
tached but little significance. 

Since the above note was written, 
Mr. W. Aldis Wright has printed 
in the Academy, February 24, 1894, 
an extract from an unpublished let- 
ter from Coleridge to the Rev. Mr. 
Edwards of Birmingham, recently 
found in the Library of Trinity 
College, Cambridge. It is dated 
Bristol, "12 March, 1795" (read 
" 1796 "), and runs as follows : — 

" Since I last wrote you, I have 
been tottering on the verge of mad- 
ness — my mind overbalanced on the 

e contra side of happiness — the blun- 
ders of my associate [in the editing 
of the Watchman, G. Burnett], etc., 
etc., abroad, and, at home, Mrs. 
Coleridge dangerously ill. . . . Such 
has been my situation for the last 
fortnight — I have been obliged to 
take laudanum almost every night." 

^ The news of the evacuation of 
Corsica by the British troops, which 
took place on October 21, 1796, must 
have reached Coleridge a few days 
before the date of this letter. Cor- 
sica was ceded to the British, June 
18, 1794. A declaration of war on 
the part of Spain (August 19, 1796) 
and a threatened invasion of Ire- 
land compelled the home govern- 
ment to withdraw their troops from 
Corsica. In a footnote to chapter 
XXV. of his Life of Napoleon Bona- 
parte. Sir Walter Scott quotes from 
Napoleon's memoirs compiled at St. 
Helena the " odd observation " that 
" the crown of Corsica must, on the 
temporary annexation of the island 
to Great Britain, have been sur- 
prised at finding itself appertaining 
to the successor of Fingal." Sir 
Walter's patriotism constrained him 
to add the following coixmient : '' Not 
more, we should think, than the dia- 
dem of France and the iron crown 
of Lombardy marvelled at meeting 
on the brow of a Corsiean soldier of 

In the Biographia Liter aria, 1847, 
ii. 380, the word is misprinted Cor- 
rica, but there is no doubt as to the 
reading of the MS. letter, or to the 
allusion to contemporary history. 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 175 

few straggling pains only remained. But this morning 
lie returned in full force, and his name is Legion. Giant- 
fiend of a hundred hands, with a shower of arrowy death- 
pangs he transpierced me, and then he became a wolf, 
and lay a-gnawing at my bones ! I am not mad, most 
noble Festus, but in sober sadness I have suffered this 
day more bodily pain than I had before a conception of. 
My right cheek has certainly been placed with admirable 
exactness under the focus of some invisible burning-glass, 
which concentrated all the rays of a Tartarean sun. My 
medical attendant decides it to be altogether nervous, and 
that it originates either in severe application, or excessive 
anxiety. My beloved Poole ! in excessive anxiety, I be- 
lieve it might originate. I have a blister under my right 
ear, and I take twenty-five drops of laudanum every five 
hours, the ease and spirits gained by which have enabled 
me to write you this flighty but not exaggerated account. 
With a gloomy wantonness of imagination I had been 
coquetting with the hideous possibles of disappointment. 
I drank fears like wormwood, yea, made myself drunken 
with bitterness ; for my ever - shaping and distrustful 
mind still mingled gall-drops, till out of the cup of hope 
I almost poisoned myself with despair. 

Your letter is dated November 2d ; I wrote to you 
November 1st. Your sister was married on that day ; 
and on that day several times I felt my heart overflowed 
with such tenderness for her as made me repeatedly ejac- 
ulate prayers in her behalf. Such things are strange. 
It may be superstitious to think about such correspond- 
ences ; but it is a superstition which softens the heart and 
leads to no evil. We will call on your dear sister as soon 
as I am quite weU, and in the mean time I will write a few 
lines to her. 

I am anxious beyond measure to be in the country as 
soon as possible. I would it were possible to get a tem- 
porary residence tiU Adscombe is ready for us. I would 


that it could be that we could have three rooms in Bill 
Poole's large house for the winter. Will you try to look 
out for a fit servant for us — simple of heart, physiognom- 
ically handsome, and scientific in vaccimulgence ? That 
last word is a new one, but soft in sound and full of ex- 
pression. Vaccimulgence ! I am pleased with the word. 
Write to me all things about yourself. Where I cannot 
advise I can condole and communicate, which doubles 
joy, halves sorrow. 

Tell me whether you think it at all possible to make 
any terms with William Poole. You know I would not 
wish to touch with the edge of the nail of my great toe 
the line which should be but half a barley-corn out of the 
niche of the most trembling delicacy. I will write Cruik- 
shank to-morrow, if God permit me. 

God bless and protect you, friend, brother, beloved ! 


Sara's best love, and Lloyd's. David Hartley is well, 
saving that he is sometimes inspired by the god ^olus, 
and like Isaiah, " his bowels sound like an harp." My 
filial love to your dear mother. Love to Ward. Little 
To m in y, I often think of thee. 


Monday night, November 7, 1796. 

My dearest Poole, — I wrote you on Saturday night 
under the immediate inspiration of laudanum, and wrote 
you a flighty letter, but yet one most accurately descriptive 
both of facts and feelings. Since then my pains have 
been lessening, and the greater part of this day I have 
enjoyed perfect ease, only I am totally inappetent of food, 
and languid, even to an inwai'd perishing. 

I wrote John Cruikshank this morning, and this mo- 
ment I have received a letter from him. My letter written 
before the receipt of his contains everything I would 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 177 

write in answer to it, and I do not like to write to him 
superfluously, lest I should break in on his domestic 
terrors and solitary broodings with regard to Anna Cruik- 
shank.i May the Father and lover of the meek preserve 
that meek woman, and give her a safe and joyful deliver- 
ance ! 

I wrote this morning a short note of congratulatory 
kindliness to your sister, and shall be eager to call on her, 
when Legion has been thoroughly exorcised from my 
temple and cheeks. Tell Cruikshank that I have received 
his letter, and thank him for it. 

A few lines in your last letter betokened, I thought, 
a wounded spirit. Let me know the particulars, my 
beloved friend. I shall forget and lose my own anxieties 
while I am healing yours with cheerings of sympathy. 

I met with the following sonnet in some very dull 
poems, among which it shone like a solitary star when 
the night is dark, and one little space of blue uninvaded 
by the floating blackness, or, if a ten^estrial simile be re- 
quired, like a red carbuncle on a negro's nose. From the 
languor and exhaustion to which pain and my frequent 
doses of laudanum have reduced me, it suited the feeble 
temper of [my] mind, and I have transcribed it on the 
other page. I amused myself the other day (having 
some paper at the printer's which I could employ no 
other way) in selecting twenty-eight sonnets,^ to bind up 
with Bowles's. I charge sixpence for them, and have sent 
you five to dispose of. I have only printed two hundred, 
as my paper held out to no more ; and dispose of them 
privately, just enough to pay the printing. The essay 
which I have written at the beginning I like. ... I have 
likewise sent you Burke's pamplilet which was given to 
me ; it has all his excellences without any of his faults. 

^ It was to this lady that the lines Child" were addressed. Poetical 
" On the Christening' of a Friend's Works, p. 83. 

2 See Letter LXVIIL, p. 206, note. 


This j^arcel I send to-morrow morning, enclosed in a 
parcel to Bill Poole of Thurston. 

God love you, my affectionate brother, and your affec- 

S. T. Coleridge. 


With passive joy the moment I survey 

When welcome Death shall set my spirit free. 

My soul ! the prospect brings no fear to thee, 

But soothing Fancy rises to pourtray 

The dear and parting words my Friends will say : 

With secret Pride their heaving Breast I see, 

And count the sorrows that will flow for me. 

And now I hear my lingering knell decay 

And mark the Hearse I Methinks, with moisten'd eye, 

Clara beholds the sad Procession move 

That bears me to the Resting-jjlace of Care, 

And sighs, " Poor youth ! thy Bosom well could love, 

And well thy Numbers picture Love's despair." 

Vain Dreams ! yet such as make it sweet to die. 


Saturday, November 19, [1796]. 
Oxford Street, Bristol. 

My dear Thelwall, — Ah me ! literary adventure 
is but bread and cheese by chance. I keenly sympathise 
with you. Sympathy, the only poor consolation I can 
offer you. Can no plan be suggested ? ... Of course you 
have read the " Joan of Arc." ^ Homer is the poet for 
the warrior, Milton for the religionist, Tasso for women, 
Robert South ey for the patriot. The first and fourth 

^ The preface to the quarto edi- from the second (1797) and subse- 

tion of Sonthey's Joan of Arc is qiient editions. It was afterwards 

dated Bristol, November, 1795, but republished, with additions, in /Si6yZ- 

the volume did not appear till the line Leaves (1817) as " The Destiny 

following' spring. Coleridge's con- of Nations." 
tribution to Book II. was omitted 


books of tlie "Joan of Arc" are to me more interestinof 
than the same number of lines in any poem whatever. But 
you and I, my dear Thelwall, hold different creeds in 
poetry as well as religion. N^mporte I By the bye, of 
your works I have now all, except your " Essay on Ani- 
mal Vitality " which I never had, and your Poevis, which 
I bought on their first publication, and lost them. From 
these poems I should have supposed our poetical tastes 
more nearly alike than, I find, they are. The poem on the 
Sols [?] flashes genius through Strophe I, Antistrophe I, 
and Epode I. The rest I do not perhajDS understand, 
only I love these two lines : — 

" Yet sure the verse that shews the friendly mind 
To Friendship's ear not harshly flows." 

Your larger nm^rative affected me greatly. It is admira- 
bly written, and displays strong sense animated by feel- 
ing, and illumined by imagination, and neither in the 
thoughts nor rhythm does it encroach on poetry. 

There have been two poems of mine in the new 
" Monthly Magazine," ^ with my name ; indeed, I make it 
a scruple of conscience never to publish anything, how- 
ever trifling, without it. Did you like them ? The first 
was written at the desire of a beautiful little aristocrat ; 
consider it therefore as a lady's poem. Bowles (the bard 
of my idolatry) has written a poem lately without plan 
or meaning, but the component parts are divine. It is 
entitled "Hope, an Allegorical Sketch." I will copy 
two of the stanzas, which must be peculiarly interesting 
to you, virtuous high-treasonist, and your friends the 

^ The lines " On a late Connu- appeared in the following- numher. 

bial Ruptiire " were printed in the It was headed, " Reflections on en- 

Monthly Magazine for September, tering into active Life. A Poem 

17yri. The well-known poem be- which afEects not to be Poetry." 
ginning " Low was our pretty Cot " 


" But see, as one awaked from deadly trance, 

With hollow and dim eyes, and stony stare, 
Captivity with faltering step advance ! 

Dripping and knotted was her coal-black hair : 
For she had long been hid, as in the grave ; 

No sounds the silence of her prison broke. 
Nor one companion had she in her cave 

Save Terror's dismal shape, that no word spoke, 
But to a stony cofl&n on the floor 
With lean and hideous finger pointed evermore. 

" The lark's shrill song, the early village chime. 

The upland echo of the winding horn. 
The far-heard clock that spoke the passing time. 

Had never pierced her solitude forlorn : 
At length released from the deep dungeon's gloom 

She feels the fragrance of the vernal gale, 
She sees more sweet the living landscape bloom. 

And while she listens to Hope's tender tale. 
She thinks her long-lost friends shall bless her sight, 
And almost faints for joy amidst the broad daylight." 

The last line is exquisite. 

Your portrait of yourself interested me. As to me, my 
face, unless when animated by immediate eloquence, ex- 
presses great sloth, and great, indeed, almost idiotic good- 
nature. 'T is a mere carcass of a face ; ^ fat, flabby, and 
expressive chiefly of inexpression. Yet I am told that 
my eyes, eyebrows, and forehead are physiognomically 
good ; but of this the deponent knoweth not. As to my 
shape, 't is a good shape enough if measured, but my gait 
is awkward, and the walk of the whole man indicates in- 
dolence capable of energies. I am, and ever have been, a 
great reader, and have read almost everything — a library 

1 Compare the following lines seventeen, remarkable for a plump 

from an early transcript of " Happi- face." 

ness " now in my possession : — The " Reminiscences of an Octo- 

" Ah ! doubly blest if Love supply genarian " (The Rev. Leapidge 

Lustre to the now heavy eye, Smith), contributed to the Leisure 

And with unwonted spirit grace Hour, convey a different impression : 

That fat vacuity of face." u j^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^ 

The transcriber adds in a footnote, some young man, with long, black, 
"The author was at this time, at flowing hair ; eyes not merely dark, 


cormorant. I am deep in all out of the way books, 
whether of the monkish times, or of the puritanical era. 
I have read and digested most of the historical writers ; 
but I do not lihe history. Metaphysics and poetry and 
" facts of mind," that is, accounts of all the strange phan- 
tasms that ever possessed " your philosophy ; " dreamers, 
from Thoth the Egyptian to Taylor the English pagan, 
are my darling studies. In short, I seldom read except to 
amuse myself, and I am almost always reading. Of use- 
fid knowledge, I am a so-so chemist, and I love chemistry. 
All else is hlank; but I will be (please God) an horticul- 
turalist and a farmer. I compose very little, and I abso- 
lutely hate composition, and such is my dislike that even 
a sense of duty is sometimes too weak to overpower it. 

I cannot breathe through my nose, so my mouth, with 
sensual thick lips, is almost always open. In conversa- 
tion I am impassioned, and oppose what I deem error 
with an eagerness which is often mistaken for personal 
asperity; but I am ever so swallowed up in the thing 
that I perfectly forget my opponent. Such am I. I am 
just going to read Dupuis' twelve octavos,^ which I have 
got from London. I shall read only one octavo a week, 
for I cannot speak French at all and I read it slowly. 

My wife is well and desires to be remembered to you 
and your Stella and little ones. N. B. Stella (among 
the Romans) was a man's name. All the classics are 
against you ; but our Swift, I suppose, is authority for 
this unsexing. 

Write on the receipt of this, and believe me as ever, 
with affectionate esteem, Your sincere friend, 


but black, and keenly penetrating ; and, added to all these, exhibiting 

a fine forehead, a deep-toned, bar- the elements of his future great- 

monious voice; a manner never to ness." — Leisure Hour, 1870, p. 651. 

be forgotten, full of life, vivacity, ^ Origine de tons les Cukes, ou 

and kindness ; dignified in person Beligion universelle. 


P. S. I have enclosed a five-guinea note. The five 
siiillings over please to lay out for me thus. In White's 
(of Fleet Street or the Strand, I forget which — O ! the 
Strand I believe, but I don't know which), well, in 
White's catalogue are the following books : — 

4674. lamblichus,^ Proclus, Porphyrins, etc., one shil- 
ling and sixpence, one little volume. 

4680. Juliani Oj)era, three shillings : which two books 
you will be so kind as to purchase for me, and send down 
with the twenty-five pamphlets. But if they shoidd un- 
fortunately be sold, in the same catalogue are : — 

2109. Juliani Opera, 12s. 6d. 

676. lamblichus de Mysteriis, 10s. 6d. 

2681. Sidonius ApoUinaris, 6s. 

And in the catalogue of Robson, the bookseller in New 
Bond Street, Plotini Opera, a Ficino, £1.1.0, making 
altogether =£2.10.0. 

If you can get the two former little books, costing only 
four and sixpence, I will rest content with them ; if they 
are gone, be so kind as to purchase for me the others I 
mentioned to you, amounting to two pounds, ten shillings ; 
and, as in the course of next week I shall send a small par- 
cel of books and manuscripts to my very dear Charles 
Lamb of the India House, I shall be enabled to convey 
the money to you in a letter, which he A^dll leave at your 
house. I make no apology for this commission, because 
1 feel (to use a vulgar phrase) that I would do as much 
for you. P. P. S. Can you buy them time enough to send 
down with your pam2)hlets ? If not, make a parcel ^jer se. 
I hope your hurts from the fall are not serious ; you have 
given a proof now that you are no Ipjjokrite, but I forgot 
that you are not a Greekist, and perchance you hate puns ; 
but, in Greek, I^rites signifies a judge and hippos a 

1 Thelwall executed his commis- Coleridge to his son Derwent. They 
sion. The lamblichus and the Ju- are still in the possession of the 
lian were afterwards presented by family. 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 183 

horse. Hippocrite, therefore, may mean Su judge of horses. 
My dear fellow, I laugh more and talk more nonsense in 
a week than [most] other people do in a year. Farewell. 
John Thelwall, 

Beaufort Buildings, Strand, London. 


Sunday morning, December 11, 1796. 

My beloved Poole, — The sight of your villainous 
hand-scrawl was a great comfort to me. How have you 
been diverted in London ? What of the theatres ? And 
how found you your old friends ? I dined with Mr. King 
yesterday week. He is quantum suff : a pleasant m^an, 
and (my wife says) very handsome. Hymen lies in the 
arms of Hygeia, if one may judge by your sister ; she 
looks remarkably well ! But has she not caught some 
complaint in the head f Some scurfy disorder ? For her 
hair was filled with an odious white Dandruff. ("N. B. 
Nothing but powder," Mrs. King.) About myself, I 
have so much to say that I really can say nothing. I 
mean to work very hard — as Cook, Butler, Scullion, 
Shoe-cleaner, occasional Nurse, Gardener, Hind, Pig-pro- 
tector, Chaplain, Secretary, Poet, Reviewer, and omnium- 
hotherum shilling-Scavenger. In other words, I shall 
keep no servant, and will cultivate my land-acre and my 
wise-acres, as well as I can. The motives which led to 
this determination are numerous and weighty ; I have 

^ The three letters to Poole, dated account or his own it was among 
December 11, 12, and 13, relative the few papers retained by Poole 
to Coleridge's residence at Stowey, when, to quote Mrs. Sandford, " in 
were published for the first time in 1836 he placed the greater num- 
Thomas Poole and his Friends. The ber of the letters which he had re- 
long letter of expostulation, dated ceived from S. T. Coleridge at the 
December 13, which is in fact a disposal of his literary executors 
continuation of that dated Decern- for biographical piirposes." Thomas 
ber 12, is endorsed by Poole : " An IFoole and his Friends, i. 182-193. 
angry letter, but the breach was Mrs. Sandford has kindly permitted 
soon healed." Either on Coleridge's me to reprint it in extenso. 


though? much and calmly, and calculated time and money 
with unexceptionable accuracy ; and at length determined 
not to take the charge of Charles Lloyd's mind on me. 
Poor fellow ! he still hopes to live with me — is now at 
Birmingham. I wish that little cottage by the roadside 
were lettable ? That with about two or three rooms — it 
would quite do for us, as we shall occupy only two rooms. 
I will write more fully on the receipt of yours. God love 
you and 



December 12, 1796. 
You tell me, my dear Poole, that my residence near 
you would give you great pleasure, and I am sure that if 
you had any objections on your own account to my set- 
tling near Stowey you would have mentioned them to me. 
Relying on this, I assure you that a disappointment would 
try my philosophy. Your letter did indeed give me un- 
expected and most acute pain. I will make the cottage 
do. We want but three rooms. If Cruikshank have 
promised more than his circumstances enable him to per- 
form, I am sure that I can get the other purchased by my 
friends in Bristol. I mean, the place at Adscombe. I 
wrote him pressingly on this head some ten days ago ; 
but he has returned me no answer. Lloyd has obtained 
his father's permission and will return to me. He is will- 
ing to be his own servant. As to Acton, 't is out of the 
question. In Bristol I have Cottle and Estlin (for Mr. 
Wade is going away) willing and eager to serve me ; but 
how they can serve me more effectually at Acton than at 
Stowey, I cannot divine. If I live at Stowey, you indeed 
can serve me effectually, by assisting me in the acquire- 
ment of agricultural practice. If you can instruct me to 
manage an acre and a half of land, and to raise in it, with 
my own hands, all kinds of vegetables and grain, enough 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 185 

for myself and my wife and sufficient to feed a pig or 
two with the refuse, I hope that you will have served me 
most effectually by placing me out of the necessity of 
being served. I receive about forty guineas yearly from 
the " Critical Eeview " and the new " Monthly Magazine." 
It is hard if by my greater works I do not get twenty more. 
I know how little the human mind requires when it is 
tranquil, and in proportion as I should find it difficult to 
simplify my wants it becoines my duty to simplify them. 
For there must be a vice in my nature, wliich woe be to 
me if I do not cure. The less meat I eat the more 
healthy I am ; and strong liquors of any kind always and 
perceptibly injure me. Sixteen shillings would cover all 
the weekly expenses of my wife, infant, and myself. This 
I say from my wife's own calculation. 

But whence this sudden revolution in your opinions, 
my dear Poole ? You saw the cottage that was to be our 
temporary residence, and thought we might be happy in 
it, and now you hurry to tell me that we shall not even be 
comfortable in it. You tell me I shall be " too far from my 
friend a^'' that is, Cottle and Estlin, for I have no other in 
Bristol. In the name of Heaven, xohat can Cottle or Est- 
lin [do] for me ? They do nothing who do not teach me 
how to be independent of any except the Almighty Dis- 
penser of sickness and health. And " too far from the 
press." With the printing of the review and the magazine 
I have no concern ; and, if I publish any work on my own 
account, I will send a fair and faultless copy, and Cottle 
promises to correct the press for me. Mr. King's family 
may be very worthy sort of people, for aught I know ; but 
assuredly I can employ my time wiselier than to gabble 
with my tongue to beings with whom neither my head 
nor heart can commune. My habits and feelings have suf- 
fered a total alteration. I liate company except of my 
dearest friends, and systematically avoid it ; and when in 
it keep silence as far as social hmuanity will permit me. 


Lloyd's father, In a letter to me yesterday, enquired how 
I should live without any companions. I answered him 
not an hour l)efore I received your letter : — 

" I shall have six companions : My Sara, my babe, my 
own shaping and disquisitive mind, my books, my beloved 
friend Thomas Poole, and lastly. Nature looking at me 
with a thousand looks of beauty, and speaking to me in 
a thousand melodies of love. If I were capable of being 
tired with all these, I should then detect a vice in my 
nature, and would fly to habitual solitude to eradicate it." 

Yes, my friend, while I opened your letter my heart 
was glowing with enthusiasm towards you. How little 
did I expect that I should find you earnestly and vehe- 
mently persuading me to prefer Acton to Stowey, and in 
return for the loss of your society recommending Mr. 
King's family as "very pleasant neighbours." Neigh- 
bours ! Can mere juxtaposition form a neighbourhood ? 
As well shovild the louse in my head call himself my 
friend, and the flea in my bosom style herself my love ! 

On Wednesday week we must leave our house, so that 
if you continue to dissuade me from settling near Stowey 
I scarcely know what I shall do. Surely, my beloved 
friend, there must be some reason which you have not yet 
told me, which urged you to send this hasty and heart- 
chilling letter. I suspect that something has passed 
between your sister and dear mother (in whose illness I 
sincerely sympathise with you). 

I have never considered my settlement at Stowey in 
any other relation than its advantages to myself, and they 
would be great indeed. My objects (assuredly wise ones) 
were to learn agriculture (and where should I get in- 
structed except at Stowey ?) and to be where I can com- 
municate in a literary way. I must conclude. I pray you 
let me hear from you immediately. God bless you and 

S. T. Coleridge. 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 187 


Monday niglat. 

1 wrote the former letter imraediately on receipt of 
yours, in the first flutter of agitation. The tumult of my 
spirits has now subsided, but the Damp struck into my 
very heart ; and there I feel it. O my God ! my God ! 
where am I to find rest ? Disappointment follows disap- 
pointment, and Hope seems given me merely to prevent 
my becoming callous to Misery. Now I know not where 
to turn myself. I was on my way to the City Library, 
and wrote an answer to it there. Since I have returned 
I have been poring into a book, as a shew for not look- 
ing at my wife and the baby. By God, I dare not look 
at them. Acton ! The very name makes me grind my 
teeth ! What am I to do there ? 

" You will have a good garden ; you may, I doubt not, 
have ground." But am I not ignorant as a child of every- 
thing that concerns the garden and the ground ? and shall 
I have one human being there who will instruct me ? 
The House too — what should I do with it ? We want 
but two rooms, or three at the furthest. And the country 
around is intolerably flat. I would as soon live on the 
banks of a Dutch canal ! And no one human being near 
me for whom I should, or could, care a rush ! No one 
walk where the beauties of nature might endear solitude to 
me ! There is one Ghost that I am afraid of ; with that I 
should be perpetually haunted in this same cursed Acton — 
the hideous Ghost of departed Hope. O Poole ! how could 
you make such a proposal to me ? I have compelled 
myself to reperuse your letter, if by any means I may be 
able to penetrate into your motives. I find three reasons 
assigned for my not settling at Stowey. The first, the 
distance from my friends and the Press. This I answered 
in the former letter. As to my friends, what can they do 
for me ? And as to the Press, even if Cottle had not 


promised to correct it for me, yet I miglit as well be fifty 
miles from it as twelve, for any purpose of correcting. 
Secondly, the exj)ense of moving. Well, but I must 
move to Acton, and what will the difference be ? Per- 
haps three guineas. ... I would give three guineas that 
you had not assigned this reason. Thirdly, the wretch- 
edness of that cottage, which alone we can get. But 
surely, in the house which I saw, tv^o rooms may be 
found, which, by a little green list and a carpet, and a 
slight alteration in the fireplace, may be made to exclude 
the cold : and this is all we want. Besides, it will be but 
for a while. If Cruikshank cannot buy and repair 
Adscombe, I have no doubt that my friends here and at 
Birmingham would, some of them, purchase it. So much 
for the reasons : but these cannot be the real reasons. 
I was with you for a week, and then we talked over the 
whole scheme, and you approved of it, and I gave up 
Derby. More than nine weeks have elapsed since then, 
and you saw and examined the cottage, and you knew 
every other of these reasons, if reasons they can be called. 
Surely, surely, my friend, something has occurred which 
you have not mentioned to me. Your mother has mani- 
fested a strong dislike to our living near you — or some- 
thing or other ; for the reasons you have assigned tell 
me nothing except that there are reasons which you have 
not assigned. 

Pardon, if I write vehemently. I meant to have writ- 
ten calmly ; but bitterness of soul came upon me. Mrs. 
Coleridge has observed the workings of my face while I 
have been writing, and is entreating to know what is the 
matter. I dread to show her your letter. I dread it. 
My God ! my God ! What if she should dare to think 
that my most beloved friend has grown cold towards me ! 

Tuesday morning, 11 o'clock. — After an unquiet and 
almost sleepless night, I resume my pen. As the senti- 
ments over leaf came into my heart, I will not suppress 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 189 

them. I would keep a letter by me wliicli I wrote to a 
mere acquaintance, lest anything luiwise should be found 
in it ; but my friend ought to know not only what my 
sentiments are, but what my feelings were. 

I am, indeed, perplexed and cast down. My first plan, 
you know, was this — My family was to have consisted of 
Charles Lloyd, my wife and wife's mother, my infant, the 
servant, and myself. 

My means of maintaining them — Eighty pounds a year 
from Charles Lloyd, and forty from the Review and Mag- 
azine. My time was to have been divided into four parts : 
1. Three hours after breakfast to studies with C. L. 2. 
The remaining hours till dinner to our garden. 3. From 
after dinner till tea, to letter-writing and domestic quiet- 
ness. 4. From tea till prayer-time to the reviews, maga- 
zines, and other literary labours. 

Li this plan I calculated nothing on my garden but 
amusement. In the mean time I heard from Birmingham 
that Lloyd's father had declared that he should insist on 
his son's returning to him at the close of a twelvemonth. 
What am I to do then ? I shall be again afloat on the 
wide sea, unpiloted and unprovisioned. I determined to 
devote my whole day to the acquirement of practical 
horticulture, to part with Lloyd immediately, and live 
without a servant. Lloyd intreated me to give up the 
Review a,nd Magazine, and devote the evenings to him, 
but this would be to give up a permanent for a temporary 
situation, and after subtracting £40 from C. Ll.'s X80 in 
return for the Review business, and then calculating the 
expense of a servant, a less severe mode of general living, 
and Lloyd's own board and lodging, the remaining X40 
would make but a poor figure. And what was I to do 
at the end of a twelvemonth? In the mean time Mrs. 
Fricker's son could not be got out as an apprentice — he 
was too young, and premiumless, and no one would take 
him ; and the old lady herself manifested a great aversion 


to leaving Bristol. I recurred therefore to my first prom- 
ise of allowing her X20 a year ; but all her furniture 
must of course be returned, and enough only remains to 
furnish one bedroom and a kitchen-parlour. 

If Charles Lloyd and the servant went with me I must 
have bought new furniture to the amount of <£40 or £50, 
which, if not Impossibility in person, was Impossibility's 
first cousin. We determined to live by ourselves. We 
arranged our time, money, and employments. We found 
it not only practicable hut easy ; and Mrs. Coleridge 
entered with enthusiasm into the scheme. 

To Mrs. Coleridge the nursing and sewing only would 
have belonged ; the rest I took upon myself, and since 
our resolution have been learning the practice. With 
only two rooms and two people — their wants severely 
simple — no great labour can there be in their waiting upon 
themselves. Our washing we should put out. I should 
have devoted my whole head, heart, and body to my acre 
and a half of garden land, and my evenings to literature, 
Mr. and Mrs. Estlin approved, admired, and applauded 
the scheme, and thought it not only highly virtuous, but 
highly prudent. In the course of a year and a half, I 
doubt not that I should feel myself independent, for my 
bodily strength would have increased, and I shoidd have 
been weaned from animal food, so as never to touch it 
but once a week ; and there can be no shadow of a doubt 
that an acre and a half of land, di'S'ided properly, and 
managed properly, would maintain a small family in 
everything but clothes and rent. What had I to ask of 
my friends ? Not money ; for a temporary relief of my 
want is nothing, removes no gnawing of anxiety, and de- 
bases the dignity of man. Not their interest. What 
could their interest (supposing they had any) do for me? 
I can accept no place in state, church, or dissenting meet- 
ing. Nothing remains possible but a school, or writer to a 
newspaper, or my present plan. I could not love the man 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 191 

who advised me to keep a school, or write for a newspaper. 
He must have a hard heart. What then could I ask of 
my friends ? What of Mr. Wade ? Nothing. What of 

Mr. Cottle ? Nothing What of Thomas Poole ? O ! 

a great deal. Instruction, daily advice, society — every- 
thing necessary to my feelings and the realization of my 
innocent independence. You know it would be impos- 
sible for me to learn everything myself. To pass across 
my garden once or twice a day, for five minutes, to set 
me right, and cheer me with the sight of a friend's face, 
would be more to me than hundreds. Your letter was 
not a kind one. One week only and I must leave my 
house, and yet in one week you advise me to alter the 
plan which I had been three months framing, and in 
which you must have known by the letters I wrote you, 
during my illness, that I was interested even to an excess 
and violence of Hope. And to abandon this plan for dark- 
ness and a renewal of anxieties which might be fatal to 
me ! Not one word have you mentioned how I am to 
live, or even exist, supposing I were to go to Acton. 
Surely, surely, you do not advise me to lean with the 
whole weight of my necessities on the Press ? Ghosts 
indeed ! I should be haunted with ghosts enough — the 
ghosts of Otway and Chatterton, and the phantasms of a 
wife broken-hearted, and a hunger-bitten baby ! O Thomas 
Poole ! Thomas Poole ! if you did but know what a 
Father and a Husband must feel who toils with his brain 
for uncertain bread ! I dare not think of it. The evil 
face of Frenzy looks at me. The husbandman puts his 
seed in the ground, and the goodness, power, and wisdom 
of God have pledged themselves that he shall have bread, 
and health, and quietness in return for industry, and 
simplicity of wants and innocence. The author scatters 
his seed — with aching head, and wasted health, and all 
the heart-leapings of anxiety ; and the follies, the vices, 
and the ficldeness of man promise him printers' bills and 


the Debtors' Side of Newgate as full and sufficient pay- 

Charles Lloyd is at Birmingham. I hear from him 
daily. In his yesterday's letter he says : " My dearest 
friend, everything seems clearing around me. My 
friends enter fully into my views. They seem altogether 
to have abandoned any ambitions views on my account. 
My health has been very good since I left you ; and I 
own I look forward with more pleasure than ever to a 
permanent connection with you. Hitherto I could only 
look forward to the pleasures of a year. All beyond was 
dark and uncertain. My father now completely acqui- 
esces in my abandoning the prospect of any profession or 
trade. If God grant me health, there now remains no 
obstacle to a completion of my most sanguine wishes." 
Charles Lloyd will furnish his own room, and feels it his 
duty to be in all things his own servant. He will put up 
a press-bed, so that one room will be his bedchamber and 
parlour ; and I shall settle with him the hours and seasons 
of our being together, and the hours and seasons of our 
being apart. But I shall rely on him for nothing except 
his own maintenance. 

As to the poems, they are Cottle's property, not mine. 
There is no obstacle from me — no new poems intended to 
be put in the volume, except the " Visions of the Maid of 
Orleans." . . . But literature, though I shall never aban- 
don it, will always be a secondary object with me. My 
poetic vanity and my political furor have been exlialed ; 
and I would rather be an expert, self-maintaining gar- 
dener than a Milton, if I could not unite both. 

My friend., wherein I have written impetuously, par- 
don me ! and consider what I have suffered, and still am 
suffering, in consequence of your letter. . . . 

Finally., my Friend ! if your opinion of me and your 
attachment to me remain unaltered, and if you have as- 
signed the true reasons which urged you to dissuade me 
from a settlement at Stoivey., and if indeed Qjrovided 


such settlement were consistent with my good and hajypi- 
ness^, it would give you unmixed pleasure, I adhere to 
Stowey, and consider the time from last evening as a dis- 
tempered dream. But if any circumstances have occurred 
that have lessened your love or esteem or confidence ; or 
if there he objections to my settling in Stowey on your 
own account, or any other objections than what you have 
urged, I doubt not you will declare them openly and un- 
reservedly to me, in your answer to this, wliicli I shall 
expect with a total incapability of doing or thinking of 
anything, till I have received it. Indeed, indeed, I am 
very miserable. God bless you and your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Tuesday, December 13, 1796. 


December 17, 1796. 

My dear Thelwall, — I should have written you long 
ere this, had not the settlement of my affairs previous to 
my leaving Bristol and the organization of my new pilan 
occupied me with bulky anxieties that almost excluded 
everything but self from my thoughts. And, besides, 
my health has been very bad, and remains so. A nervous 
affection from my right temple to the extremity of my right 
shoulder almost distracted me, and made the frequent use 
of laudanum absolutely necessary. And, since I have sub- 
dued this, a rhemnatic complaint in the back of my head 
and shoulders, accompanied with sore throat and depres- 
sion of the animal spirits, has convinced me that a man 
may change bad lodgers without bettering himself. I 
write these things, not so much to apologise for my silence, 
or for the pleasure of complaining, as that you may 
know the reason why I have not given you a " strict ac- 
count " how I have disposed of your books. This I will 
shortly do, with all the veracity which that solemn incan- 
tation, " upon your honour^'' must necessarily have con- 
jured up. 

Your second and third part promise great things. I 


have counted the subjects, and by a nice calculation find 
that eighteen Scotch doctors would write fifty-four quarto 
volumes, each choosing his thesis out of your syllabus. 
May you do good by them, and moreover enable yourself to 
do more good, I should say, to continue to do good. My 
farm will be a garden of one acre and a half, in which 
I mean to raise vegetables and corn enough for myself 
and wife, and feed a couple of snouted and grmiting 
cousins from the refuse. My evenings I shall devote to 
literature ; and, by reviews, the magazine, and the other 
shilling - scavenger employments, shall probably gain 
forty pounds a year ; which economy and self - denial, 
gold-beaters, shall hammer till it cover my annual ex- 
penses. Now, in favour of this scheme, I shall say nothing, 
for the more vehement my ratiocinations were, previous 
to the experiment, the more ridiculous my failure would 
appear ; and if the scheme deserve the said ratiocinations 
I shall live down all your objections. I doubt not that 
the time will come when all our utilities will be directed 
in one simple path. That time, however, is not come ; and 
imperious circumstances point out to each one his particu- 
lar road. Much good may be done in all. I am not fit 
for 'public life ; yet the light shall stream to a far dis- 
tance from my cottage window. Meantime, do you uplift 
the torch dreadlessly, and show to mankind the face of 
that idol which they have worshipped in darkness ! And 
now, my dear fellow, for a little sparring about poetry. 
My first sonnet ^ is ohscure ; but you ought to distinguish 
between obscurity residing in the uncommonness of the 
thought, and that which proceeds from thoughts uncon- 
nected and language not adapted to the expression of 

1 " Sonnet composed on a journey lislied in 1797, and ag-ain from a 

homeward, tlie author having- re- copy of the same sonnet sent in a 

ceived intellig-ence of the birth of a letter to Poole, dated November 1, 

son. September 20, 1796." 1796. See Poetical Works, p. 66, and 

The opening' lines, as quoted in Editor's Note, p. 582. 
the letter, difPer from those pub- 


them. Where you do find out the meaning of my poetry, 
can you (in general, I mean) alter the language so as to 
make it more perspicuous — the thought remaining the 
same? By "dreamy semblance" I did mean semblance 
of some unknown past, like to a dream, and not " a sem- 
blance jiresented in a dream." I meant to express that 
ofttimes, for a second or two, it flashed upon my mind 
that the then company, conversation, and everything, had 
occurred before with all the precise circumstances ; so as 
to make reality appear a semblance, and the present like 
a dream in sleep. Now this thought is obscure ; because 
few persons have experienced the same feeling. Yet 
several have ; and they were proportionably delighted 
with the lines, as expressing some strange sensations, 
which they themselves had never ventured to communi- 
cate, much less had ever seen developed in poetry. The 
lines I have altered to, — 

Oft o'er my brain does that strange rapture roll 
Which makes the present (while its brief fit last) 
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past, 
Mixed with such feelings as distress the soul 
When dreaming that she dreams.-^ 

Next as to "mystical." Now that the thinking part of 
man, that is, the soul, existed previously to its appearance 
in its present body may be very wild philosophy, but it is 
very intelligible poetry ; inasmuch as " soul " is an ortho- 
dox word in all our poets, they meaning by " soul " a being 
inhabiting our body, and playing upon it, like a musician 
enclosed in an organ whose keys were placed inwards. 
Now this opinion I do not hold ; not that I am a materi- 
alist, but because I am a Berkleyan. Yet as you, who are 
not a Christian, wished you were, that we might meet in 
heaven, so I, who did not believe in this descending and 
incarcerated soul, yet said if my baby had died before I 

^ Coleridge's Poetical Works, p. 66. 


had seen liiui I sliould have struggled to believe it. Bless 
me I a commentary of thirty-five lines in defence of a son- 
net I and I do not like the sonnet much myself. In some 
(indeed, in many of my poems) there is a garishness and 
swell of diction which I hope that my poems in future, if 
I write any, will be clean of, but seldom, I tliink, any con- 
ceits. In the second edition, now printing, I have swept 
the book with the expurgation-besom to a fine tune, having 
omitted nearly one third. As to Bowles, I affirm that the 
manner of his accentuation in the words " broad day- 
light " (three long syllables) is a beauty, as it admirably 
expresses the captive's dwelling on the sight of noon with 
rapture and a kind of wonder. 

The common sun, the air, the skies 
To him are opening paradise. 


But supposing my defence not tenable ; yet how a blunder 
in metre stamps a man Italian or Delia Cruscan I can- 
not perceive. As to my own poetiy, I do confess that it 
frequently, both in thought and language, deviates from 
" nature and simplicity." But that Bowles, the most 
tender, and, with the exception of Burns, the only alioays 
natural in our language, that he should not escape the 
charge of Delia Cruscanism, — this cuts the skin and sur- 
face of my heart. " Poetry to have its highest relish must 
be impassioned." Tru.e. But, firstly, poetry ought not 
always to have its highest relish ; and, secondly, judging of 
the cause from its effect, poetry, though treating on lofty 
and abstract truths, ought to be deemed imjyassioned by 
him who reads it with impassioned feelings. Now Col- 
lins's " Ode on the Poetical Character," — that part of it, 
I should say, beginning with " The band (as faery legends 
say) Was wove on that creating day," — has inspired and 
whirled me along with greater agitations of enthusiasm 
than any the most wij^assioned scene in Schiller or Shake- 

.1796] TO JOHN THELWALL 197 

speare, using "impassioned" in its confined sense, for 
writing in which the human passions of pity, fear, anger, 
revenge, jealousy, or love are brought into view with their 
workings. Yet I consider the latter poetry as more valu- 
able, because it gives more general pleasure, and I judge 
of all things by their utility. I feel strongly and I think 
strongly, but I seldom feel without thinking or think with- 
out feeling Hence, though my poetry has in general a 
hue of tenderness or passion over it, yet it seldom exhib- 
its unmixed and simple tenderness or passion. My philo- 
sophical opinions are blended with or deduced from my 
feelings, and this, I think, peculiarises my style of writing, 
and, like everything else, it is sometimes a beauty and 
sometimes a fault. But do not let us introduce an Act of 
Uniformity against Poets. I have room enough in my 
brain to admire, aye, and almost equally, the head and 
fancy of Akenside, and the heart and fancy of Bowles, the 
solemn lordliness of Milton, and the divine chit-chat of 
Cowper.^ And whatever a man's excellence is, that will 
be likewise his fault. 

There were some verses of yours in the last " Monthly 
Magazine " with which I was much pleased — calm good 
sense combined w\\h. feeling^ and conveyed in harmonious 
verse and a chaste and pleasing imagery. I wish much, 
very much, to see your other poem. As to your Poems 
which you informed me in the accompanying letter that 
you had sent in the same parcel with the pamphlets, 
whether or no your verses had more than their proper 
number of feet I cannot say; but certain it is, that some- 
how or other they marched of. No "Poems by John 
Thelwall " could I find. When I charged you with anti- 

1 Compare Lamb's letter to Cole- the ' divine chit-chat of Cowper.' " 

ridge, December 5, 1796. "I am Compare, too, letter of December 

glad you love Cowper. I could for- 10, 1796, in which the origin of the 

give a man for not enjoying Milton, phrase is attributed to Coleridge, 

but I would not call that man my Letters of Charles Lamb, i. 52, 54. 

friend who should be offended with See, too, Canon Ainger's note, i. 316. 


religious Tbigotry, I did not allude to your pamphlet, but 
to passages in your letters to me, and to a circumstance 
wliicli Southey, I thinh^ once mentioned, that you had as- 
serted that the name of God ought never to he produced 
in poetry.i Which, to he sure, was carrying hatred to 
your Creator very far indeed. 

My dear Thelwall I " It is the principal felicity of life 
and the chief glory of manhood to speak out fully on all 
subjects." I will avail myself of it. I will express all 
my feelings, but will previously take care to make my feel- 
ings benevolent. Contempt is hatred without fear ; an- 
ger, hatred accompanied with apprehension. But because 
hatred is always evil, contempt must be always evil, and a 
good man ought to speak conteinptuously of nothing. I 
am sure a wise man will not of opinions which have been 
held by men, in other respects at least, confessed of more 
powerful intellect than himself. 'T is an assumption of 
infallibility; for if a man were wakefuUy mindful that 
what he now thinks foolish he may himself hereafter think 
wise, it is not in natu^re that he should despise those who 
now believe what it is possible he may himself hereafter 
believe ; and if he deny the possibility he must on that 
point deem himself infallible and innnutable. Now, in 
your letter of yesterday, you speak with contempt of two 
things : old age and the Christian religion ; though reli- 
gion was believed by Newton, Locke, and Hartley, after 
intense investigation, which in each had been preceded by 
unbelief. This does not prove its truth, but it should save 
its followers from contempt, even though through the in- 
firmities of mortality they should have lost their teeth. I 
call that man a bigot, Thelwall, whose intemperate zeal, 
for or against any oj)inions, leads him to contradict himself 
in the space of half a dozen lines. Now this you appear 

^ " Southey misrepresented me. Love Sonnets.'''' MS. Note by John 
My m^axim was and is that the name Thelwall. 
of God should not be introduced into 


to me to have done. I will write fully to you now, be- 
cause I shall never renew the subject. I shall not be idle 
in defence of the religion I profess, and my books will be 
the place, not my letters. You say the Christian is a mean 
religion. Now the religion which Christ taught is simply, 
first, that there is an omnipresent Father of infinite 
power, wisdom, and goodness, in whom we all of us move 
and have our being' ; and, secondly, that when we appear 
to men to die we do not utterly perish, but after this life 
shall continue to enjoy or sufPer the consequences and nat- 
ural effects of the habits we have formed here, whether 
good or evil. This is the Christian religion, and all of 
the Christian religion. That there is no fancy in it I 
readily grant, but that it is mean and deficient in mind 
and energy it were impossible for me to admit, unless I 
admitted that there could he no dignity, intellect, or force 
in anything but atheism. But though it appeal not itself 
to the fancy, the truths which it teaches admit the highest 
exercise of it. Are the " innumerable multitude of angels 
and archangels " less splendid beings than the countless 
gods and goddesses of Rome and Greece ? And can you 
seriously think that Mercury from Jove equals in poetic 
sublimity " the mighty angel that came down from heaven, 
whose face was as it were the sun and his feet as pillars 
of fire : who set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot 
on the earth. And he sent forth a loud voice ; and when 
he had sent it forth, seven thunders uttered their voices : 
and when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, the 
mighty Angel ^ lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by 
Him that liveth for ever and ever that Time was no more " ? 
Is not Milton a sublimer poet than Homer or Virgil ? Are 
not his personages more sublimely clothed, and do you not 
know that there is not perhaps one page in Hilton s Par- 

1 Revelation x. 1-6. Some words ity, or to heighten the dramatic ef- 
and sentences of the original are feet, 
omitted, either for the sake of brev- 


adise Lost in whicli he has not borrowed his imagery from 
the Scriptures f I allow and rejoice that Chriat appealed 
only to the understanding and the affections ; but I affirm 
that after reading Isaiah, or St, Paul's " Epistle to the 
Hebrews," Homer and Virgil are disgustingly tame to me, 
and Milton himself barely tolerable. You and I are very 
differently organized if you think that the following (put- 
ting serious belief out of the question) is a mean flight of 
impassioned eloquence in which the Apostle marks the dif- 
ference between the Mosaic and Christian Dispensation : 
" For ye are not come unto the mount that might be 
touched " (that is, a material and earthly j^lace) " and 
that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and tempest, 
and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which 
voice they that heard entreated that the word should not 
be spoken to them any more. But ye are come unto 
Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, to an 
innumerable company of angels, to God the Judge of all, 
and to the spirits of just men made perfect." ^ You may 
prefer to aU this the quarrels of Jupiter and Juno, the 
whimpering of wounded Venus, and the jokes of the celes- 
tials on the lameness of Vidcan. Be it so (the difference 
in our tastes it would not be difficult to account for from 
the different feelings which we have associated with these 
ideas) ; I shall continue with Milton to say that 

" Zion Hill 
Delig-lits me more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd 
Fast by the oracle of God ! " 

" Visions fit for slobberers ! " If infidelity do not lead 
to sensuality, which in every case except yours I have ob- 
served it to do, it always takes away all respect for those 
who become unpleasant from the infirmities of disease or 
decaying nature. Exempli gratia, " the aged are sloh- 
herers'' ^ The only vision which Christianity holds forth 

1 Hebrews xii. 18, 19, 22, 23. terval of twenty-three years I was 

2 " In reading over this after an in- wondering what I could have said 


is indeed peculiarly adapted to these slobberers. Yes, to 
these lowly and despised and perishing slobberers it pro- 
claims that their " corruptible shall put on incorruption, 
and their mortal put on immortality.^' 

"Morals to the Magdalen and Botany Bay." Now, 
Thelwall, I presume that to preach morals to the virtu- 
ous is not quite so requisite as to preach them to the 
vicious. "The sick need a physician." Are morals 
which would make a prostitute a wife and a sister, 
which would restore her to inward peace and purity ; are 
morals which would make drunkards sober, the ferocious 
benevolent, and thieves honest, mean morals f Is it a 
despicable trait in our religion, that its professed object 
is to heal the broken-hearted and give wisdom to the 
poor man ? It preaches re2)entance. What repentance ? 
Tears and sorrow and a repetition of the same crimes ? 
No, a " repentance unto good works ; " a repentance that 
completely does away all superstitious terrors by teaching 
that the past is nothing in itself, that, if the mind is good, 
that it ivas bad imports nothing. " It is a religion for 
democrats." It certainly teaches in the most explicit terms 
the rights of man, his right to wisdom, his right to an equal 
share in all the blessings of nature ; it commands its dis- 
ciples to go everywhere, and everywhere to preach these 
rights ; it commands them never to use the arm of flesh, to 
be perfectly non-resistant ; yet to hold the promidgation 
of truth to be a law above law, and in the jjerformance of 
this office to defy " wickedness in high j^laces," and cheer- 
fully to endure ignominy, and wretchedness, and torments, 
and death, rather than intermit the performance of it ; yet, 
while enduring ignominy, and wretchedness, and torments, 
and death, to feel nothing but sorrow, and pity, and love 

that looked like contempt of age. ill guide in matters of understanding 

May not slobberers have referred not and consequently of faith?" MS. 

to age but to the drivelling of de- Note by John Thelwall, 1819. 
cayed intellect, which is surely an 


for tliose who inflicted them ; wishing their oppressors to 
be altogether such as they, " excepting these bonds." 
Here is truth in theory and in practice, a union of energetic 
action and more energetic suffering. For activity amuses ; 
but he who can endure calmly must possess the seeds of 
true greatness. For all his animal spirits will of necessity 
fail him ; and he has only his mind to trust to. These 
doubtless are morals for all the lovers of mankind, who 
wish to act as well as speculate; and that you should 
allow this, and yet, not three lines before call the same 
morals mean, appears to me a gross self-contradiction 
symptomatic of bigotry. I write freely, Thelwall ; for, 
though personally unknown, I really love you, and can 
count but few human beings whose hand I would welcome 
with a more hearty grasp of friendship. I suspect, Thel- 
wall, that you never read your Testament, since your un- 
derstanding was matured, without carelessness, and pre^a- 
ous contempt, and a somewhat like hatred. Christianity 
regards morality as a process. It finds a man vicious and 
unsusceptible of noble motives and gradually leads liim, at 
least desires to lead him, to the height of disinterested 
virtue ; till, in relation and proportion to his f acidties and 
power, he is perfect " even as our Father in heaven is 
perfect." There is no resting-place for morality. Now T 
will make one other appeal, and have done forever with 
the subject. There is a passage in Scripture which com- 
prises the whole process, and each component part, of 
Christian morals. Previously let me explain the word 
faith. By faith I understand, first, a deduction from 
exj^eriments in favour of the existence of something not 
experienced, and, secondly, the motives which attend such 
a deduction. Now motives, being selfish, are only the 
beginning and the foundation, necessary and of first-rate 
importance, yet made of vile materials, and hidden be- 
neath the sj^lendid superstructure. 

" Now giving all diligence, add to your faith fortitude, 




and to fortitude hnoidedge, and to knowledge purity, and 
to purity patience,^ and to patience godliness,^ and to 

^ Patience — permit me as a defi- 
nition of the word to quote one sen- 
tence from my first Address, p. 20. 
"Accustomed to regard all the af- 
fairs of man as a process, they 
never hurry and they never pause." 
In his not possessing this virtue, all 
the horrible excesses of Robespierre 
did, I believe, originate. — MS. note 
to text of letter by S. T. Coleridge. 

2 Godliness — the belief, the ha- 
bitual and efficient belief, that -we are 
always in the presence of our uni- 
versal Parent. I will translate liter- 
ally a passage [the passage is from 
Voss's Luise. I am enabled by the 
courtesy of Dr. Garnett, of the Brit- 
ish Museum, to give an exact refer- 
ence : Luise, ein Idndliches Gedicht 
in drei Idyllen, von Johann Hein- 
rich Voss, Konigsberg, mdccxcv. 
Erste Idylle, pp. 41-45, lines 303- 
339. — E. H. C] from a German 
hexameter poem. It is the speech 
of a country clergyman on the birth- 
day of his daughter. The latter part 
fully expresses the spirit of godli- 
ness, and its connection with bro- 
therly-kindness. (Pardon the harsh- 
ness of the language, for it is trans- 
lated totidem verbis.) 

" Yes ! my beloved daughter, I 
am cheerful, cheerful as the birds 
singing in the wood here, or the 
squirrel that hops among the airy 
branches around its young in their 
nest. To-day it is eighteen years 
since God gave me my beloved, now 
my only child, so intelligent, so 
pious, and so dutiful. How the 
time flies away ! Eighteen years to 
come — how far the space extends 
itself before us ! and how does it 
vanish when we look back upon 

it ! It was but yesterday, it seems 
to me, that as I was plucking flow- 
ers here, and ofPering praise, on a 
sudden the joyful message came, 
' A daughter is born to us.' Much 
since that time has the Almighty 
imparted to us of good and evil. 
But the evil itself was good ; for 
his loving-kindness is infinite. Do 
you recollect [to his wife] as it once 
had rained after a long drought, and 
I (Louisa in my arms) was walking 
with thee in the freshness of the 
garden, how the child snatched at 
the rainbow, and kissed me, and 
said : ' Papa ! there it rains flowers 
from heaven ! Does the blessed 
God strew these that we children 
may gather them up ? ' ' Yes ! ' I 
answered, 'full-blowing and heav- 
enly blessings does the Father strew 
who stretched out the bow of his 
favour ; flowers and fruits that we 
may gather them with thankfulness 
and joy. Whenever I think of that 
great Father then my heart lifts itself 
up and swells with active impulse to- 
wards all his children, our brothers 
who inhabit the earth around ns ; dif- 
fering indeed from one another in 
powers and understanding, yet all 
dear children of the same parent, nour- 
ished by the same Spirit of animation, 
and ere long to fall asleep, and again 
to wake in the common morning of the 
Resurrection ; all who have loved their 
fellow-creatures, all shall rejoice with 
Peter, and Moses, and Confucius, and 
Homer, and Zoroaster, with Socrates 
who died for truth, and also with the 
noble Mendelssohn ivho teaches that the 
divine one was never crucified.'' " 

Mendelssohn is a German Jew by 
parentage, and deist by election. 


godliness brotherly-kindness, and to brotherly-kindness 
universal love." ^ 

I hope, whatever you may think of godliness, you will 
like the note on it. I need not tell you, that godliness is 
God-/i/oeness, and is paraphrased by Peter " that ye may 
be partakers of the divine nature," that is, act from a 
love of order and happiness, not from any self-respecting 
motive ; from the excellency into which you have exalted 
your nature, not from the heenness of mere prudence. 
" Add to your faith fortitude, and to fortitude knowledge, 
and to knowledge purity, and to purity patience, and to 
patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kindness, 
and to brotherly-kindness universal love." Now, Thel- 
wall, putting faith out of the question (which, by the 
bye, is not mentioned as a virtue, but as the leader to 
them), can you mention a virtue which is not here en- 
joined? and supposing the precepts embodied in the 
practice of any one human being, would not perfection be 
personified? I write these things not with any expecta- 
tion of making you a Christian, I should smile at my 
own folly, if I conceived it even in a friendly day-dream. 

"The ardour of undisciplined benevolence seduces us 
into malignity," and, while you accustom yourself to 
speak so contemptuously of doctrines you do not accede 
to, and persons with whom you do not accord, I must 
doubt whether even your hrotherl y-kind ness might not be 
made more perfect. That is surely Jit for a man which 
his mind after sincere examination approves, which ani- 
mates his conduct, soothes his sorrows, and heightens his 
pleasures. Every good and earnest Christian declares 
that all this is true of the visio7is (as you please to style 

He has written some of the most most unintelligible Immanuel Kant. 

acute books possible in favour of — MS. note to text of letter by S. T. 

natural immortality, and Germany Coleridge. 

deems him her profoundest meta- ^ 2 Peter i. 5-7. 

physician, with the exception of the 


them, God knows why) of Christianity. Every earnest 
Christian, therefore, is on a level with slobberers. Do not 
charge me with dwelling on one expression. These ex- 
pressions are always indicative of the habit of feeling. 
You possess fortitude and purity, and a large portion of 
brotherly-kindness and universal love ; drink with un- 
quenchable thirst of the two latter virtues, and acquire 
patience ; and then, Thelwall, should your system be 
true, all that can be said is that (if both our systems 
should be found to increase our own and our fellow-crea- 
tures' happiness), " Here lie and did lie the all of John 
Thelwall and S. T. Coleridge. They were both humane, 
and happy, but the former was the more knowing ; " and 
if my system should prove true, we, I doubt not, shall 
both meet in the kingdom of heaven, and I, with trans- 
port in my eye, shall say, " I told you so, my dear fellow." 
But seriously, the faulty habit of feeling, which I have 
endeavoured to point out in you, I have detected in at 
least as great degree in my own practice, and am strug- 
gling to subdue it. I rejoice that the bankrupt honesty 
of the public has paid even the small dividend you men- 
tioned. As to your second part, I will write you about 
it in a day or two, when I give you an account how I 
have disposed of your first. My dear little baby I and 
my wife thinks that he already begins to flutter the 
callow wings of his intellect. Oh, the wise heart and 
foolish head of a mother ! Kiss your little girl for me, 
and tell her if I knew her I would love her ; and then I 
hope in your next letter you will convey her love to me 
and my Sara. Your dear boy, I trust, will return with 
rosy cheeks. Don't you suspect, Thelwall, that the little 
atheist Madam Stella has an abominable Christian kind 
of heart f My Sara is much interested about her ; and I 
should not wonder if they were to be sworn sister-seraphs 
in the heavenly Jerusalem. Give my love to her. 

I have sent you some loose sheets which Charles Lloyd 




and I printed together, intending to make a volume, but 
I gave it up and cancelled them.^ Item, Joan of Arc, 
with only the passage of my writing cut out for the print- 
ers, as I am printing it in my second edition, with very 
great alterations and an addition of four hundred lines, so 
as to make it a complete and independent poem, entitled, 
" The Progress of Liberty," or " The Visions of the Maid 
of Orleans." Item, a sheet of sonnets ^ collected by me for 
the use of a few friends, who paid the printing. There 
you will see my opinion of sonnets. Item, Poem by C. 
Lloyd ^ on the death of one of your " slobberers," a very 
venerable old lady, and a Quaker. The book is dressed 
like a rich Quaker, in costly raiment but unornamented. 
The loss of her almost killed my poor young friend ; for 
he doted on her from his infancy. Item, a poem of 
mine on Burns * which was printed to be disj)ersed among 

^ They were criticised by Lamb 
in his letter to Coleridg'e Dec. 10, 
1796 (xxxi. of Canon Ainger's edi- 
tion), but in a passage first printed 
in the Atlantic Monthly for February, 
1891. The explanatory notes there 
printed were founded on a miscon- 
ception, but the matter is cleared up 
in the Athenceum for June 13, 1891, 
in the article, ' ' A Letter of Charles 

2 The reference is to a pamphlet 
of sixteen pages containing twenty- 
eight sonnets by Coleridge, Southey, 
Lloyd, Lamb, and others, Avhieh was 
printed for private circulation to- 
wards the close of 1796, and distrib- 
uted among a few friends. Of this 
selection of sonnets, which was made 
" for the purpose of binding them iip 
with the sonnets of the Rev. W. L. 
Bowles," the sole surviving copy is 
now in the Dyce Collection of the 
South Kensington Museum. On the 
fly-leaf, in Coleridge's handwriting, 

is a " presentation note " to Mrs. 
Thelwall. For a full account of this 
curious and interesting volume, see 
Coleridge's Poetical and Dramatic 
Works, 4 vols., 1S77-18S0, ii. 377- 
379; also, Poetical Works (1893), 

^ A folio edition of '" Poems on 
the Death of PrisciUa Farmer, by 
her grandson Charles Lloyd," was 
printed at Bristol in 1796. The vol- 
ume was prefaced by Coleridge's son- 
net, " The piteous sobs which choke 
the virgin's breast," and contained 
Lamb's " Grandame." As Mr. Dykes 
Campbell has pointed out, it is to 
this '■ magnificent folio " that Charles 
Lamb alludes in liis letter of Decem- 
ber 10, 1796 (incorrectly dated 1797), 
when he speaks of '' my granny so 
gaily decked," and records " the odd 
coincidence of two young men in one 
age carolling their grandmothers." 
Poetical Works, note 99, p. 583. 

* " To a friend (C. Lamb) who had 


friends. It was addressed to Charles Lamb. Item, 
(Shall I give it thee, blasphemer ? No ! I won't, but) to 
thy SteUa I do present the poems of my youth for a keep- 
sake. Of this parcel I do entreat thy acceptance. I have 
another Joan of Arc, so you have a right to the one en- 
closed. Postscript. Item, a humorous " DroU " on S. Ire- 
land, of which I have likewise another. Item, a strange 
poem written by an astrologer here, who loas a man of 
fine genius, which, at intervals, he still discovers. But, 
ah me ! Madness smote with her hand and stamped with 
her feet and swore that he should be hers, and hers he is. 
He is a man of fluent eloquence and general knowledge, 
gentle in his manners, warm in his affections ; but unfor- 
tunately he has received a few rays of supernatural light 
through a crack in his upper story. I express myself un- 
feelingly ; but indeed my heart always aches when I think 
of him. Item, some verses of Eobert Southey to a col- 
lege cat.i And, finally, the following lines by thy affec- 
tionate friend, 

S. T. Coleridge. 



Hence that fantastic wantonness of woe, 
youth to partial Fortune vainly dear ! 

To plunder'd Want's half-sheltered hovel go, 
Go, and some hunger-bitten infant hear 
Moan haply in a dying mother's ear. 

declared his intention of writing no causeless nielanelioly," may have 

more poetry." Poetical Works, p. been addressed to Charles Lloyd. 

C9. See, too, Editor's Note, p. 583. The last line, " A prey to the 

^ Printed in the ^l?»!MaZ Anthology throned murderess of mankind," was 

for 1799. afterwards changed to " A prey to 

^ These lines, which were pub- tyrants, murderers of mankind." 

lished with the enlarged title " To The reference is, doubtless, to Cath- 

a Young Man of Fortune who had erine of Russia. Her death had 

abandoned himself to an indolent and taken place a month before the date 


Or seek some widow'' s grave ; whose dearer part 

Was slaughtered, where o'er his uncoffin'd limbs 
The flocking flesh-birds scream'd ! Then, while thy heart 

Groans, and thine eyes a fiercer sorrow dims, 
Know (and the truth shall kindle thy young mind), 

What Nature makes thee mourn she bids thee heal. 
O abject ! if, to sickly dreams resign'd. 

All effortless thou leave Earth's common weal 
A prey to the thron'd Murderess of Mankind ! 

After the first five lines tliese two followed : — 

Or when the cold and dismal fog-damps brood 

O'er the rank church-yard with sere elm-leaves strew'd, 

Pace round some widow's grave, etc. 

These they rightly omitted. I love sonnets ; but upon 
my honour I do not love my sonnets. 

N". B. — Direct your letters, S. T. Coleridge; Mr. Cot- 
tle's, High Street, Bristol. 


Sunday mornmg [? December 18, 1796.] 

My dear Poole, — I wrote to you with improper im- 
petuosity ; but I had been dwelling so long on the circum- 
stance of living near you, that my mind was thrown by 
your letter into the feelings of those distressful dreams ^ 
where we imagine ourselves falling from precipices. I 

of this letter, biit possibly when Cole- ^ Compare the line, " From preci- 
ridge wrote the lines the news had pices of distressful sleep," which oc- 
not reached England. It is not a curs in the sonnet, ' ' No more my 
little strange that Coleridge should visionary soul shall dwell," which is 
write and print so stern and uncom- attributed to Favell in a letter of Sou- 
promising a rebuke to his intimate they's to his brother Thomas, dated 
and disciple before there had been October 24, 1795. Southey'siiyeawd 
time for coolness and alienation on Correspondence, i. 224. See, also, Ed- 
either side. Very possibly the re- itor's Note to " Monody on the Death 
proof was aimed in the first instance of Chatterton,' ' Poetical Works, p. 
against himself, and afterwards he 563. 
permitted it to apply to Lloyd. 

1796] TO THOMAS POOLE 209 

seemed falling from the summit of my fondest desires, 
whirled from the height just as I had reached it. 

We shall want none of the Woman's furniture ; we 
have enough for ourselves. What with boxes of books, 
and chests of drawers, and kitchen furniture, and chairs, 
and our bed and bed-linen, etc., we shall have enough to 
fill a small waggon, and to-day I shall make enquiry among 
my trading acquaintance, whether it would be cheaper to 
hire a waggon to take them straight to Stowey, than to 
put them in the Bridgwater waggon. Taking in the 
double trouble and expense of putting them in the drays 
to carry them to the public waggon, and then seeing them 
packed again, and again to be unpacked and packed at 
Bridgwater, I much question whether our goods would 
be good for anything. I am very poorly, not to say ill. 
My face monstrously swollen — my recondite eye sits 
distent quaintly, behind the flesh-hill, and looks as little as 
a tomtit's. And I have a sore throat that prevents my 
eating aught but spoon-meat without great pain. And I 
have a rheumatic complaint in the back part of my head 
and shoulders. Now all this demands a small portion of 
Christian patience, taking in our present circumstances. 
My apothecary says it will be madness for me to walk to 
Stowey on Tuesday, as, in the furious zeal of a new con- 
vert to economy, I had resolved to do. My wife will stay 
a week or fortnight after me ; I think it not improbable 
that the weather may break up by that time. However, 
if I do not get worse, I will be with you by Wednesday 
or Thursday at the furthest, so as to be there before the 
waggon. Is there any grate in the house ? I should 
think we might Eumfordize one of the chimneys. I shall 
bring down with me a dozen yards of green list. I can 
endure cold, but not a cold room. If we can but con- 
trive to make two rooms warm and ivholesome, we will 
laugh in the faces of gloom and ill-lookingness. 

I shall lose the post if I say a word more. You thor- 


ouglily and in every nook and corner of your heart forgive 
me for my letters ? Indeed, indeed, Poole, I know no 
one whom I esteem more — no one friend whom I love so 
much. But bear with my infirmities ! God bless you, 
and your grateful and affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 


December 31, 1796. 
Enough, my dear Thelwall, of theology. In my book on 
Godwin, I compare the two systems, his and Jesus', and 
that book I am sure you will read with attention. I entirely 
accord with your opinion of Southey's " Joan." The ninth 
book is execrable, and the poem, though it frequently reach 
the sentimental, does not display the 'poetical-suhlime. 
In language at once natural, perspicuous, and dignified 
in manly pathos, in soothing and sonnet-like description, 
and, above all, in character and dramatic dialogue, 
Southey is unrivalled ; but as certainly he does not pos- 
sess opulence of imaginative lofty-paced harmony, or that 
toil of thinking which is necessary in order to plan a 
whole. Dismissing mock hmnility, and hanging your 
mind as a looking-glass over my idea-pot, so as to image 
on the said mind all the bubbles that boil in the said idea- 
pot (there 's a damned long-winded metaphor for you), I 
think that an admirable poet might be made by amalga- 
mating him and me. I think too much for a, 2)oet, he too 
little for a great poet. But he ^h jiives feeling. Now (as 
you say) they must go together. Between ourselves the 
enthusiasm of friendship is not with S. and me. We 
quarrelled and the quarrel lasted for a twelvemonth. We 
are now reconciled ; but the cause of the difference was 
solemn, and " the blasted oak puts not forth its buds 
anew." We are acquaintances, and feel kindliness to- 
wards each other, but I do not esteem or love Southey, 
as I must esteem and love the man whom I dared call by 

1796] TO JOHN THELWALL. 211 

the holy name of friend : and vice versa Southey of me. 
I say no more. It is a painful subject, and do you say 
nothing. I mention this for obvious reasons, but let it 
go no farther. It is a painful subject. Southey's direc- 
tion at present is E. Southey, No. 8 West-gate Buildings, 
Bath, but he leaves Bath for London in the course of a 
week. You imagine that I know Bowles personally. I 
never saw him but once, and when I was a boy and in 
Salisbury market-place. 

The passage in your letter respecting your mother 
affected me greatly. Well, true or false, heaven is a less 
gloomy idea than annihilation. Dr. Beddoes and Dr. 
Darwin think that Life is utterly inexplicable, writing as 
materialists. You, I understand, have adopted the idea 
that it is the result of organised matter acted on by ex- 
ternal stimuli. As likely as any other system, but you 
assume the thing to be proved. The " capability of being 
stimulated into sensation "... is my definition of 
animal life. Monro believes in a plastic, immaterial 
nature, all-pervading. 

And what if all of animated nature 
Be but organic harps diversely framed, 
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps 
Plastic and vast, etc. 

(By the bye, that is the favourite of my poems ; do you 
like it ?) Hunter says that the hlood is the life, which is 
saying nothing at all ; for, if the blood were life, it could 
never be otherwise than life, and to say it is alive is 
saying nothing ; and Ferriar believes in a soul, like an 
orthodox churchman. So much for physicians and sur- 
geons ! Now as to the metaphysicians. Plato says it is 
harmony. He might as well have said a fiddlestick's end ; 
but I love Plato, his dear, gorgeous nonsense ; and I, 
though last not least, I do not know what to think about 
it. On the whole, I have rather made up my mind that I 


am a mere aiJijarition, a naked spirit, and that life is, 
I myself I ; which is a mighty clear account of it. Now I 
have written all this, not to express my ignorance (that is 
an accidental effect, not the final cause), but to shew you 
that I want to see your essay on " Animal Vitality," of 
which Bowles the surgeon spoke in high terms. Yet he 
believes in a hody and a soul. Any book may be left at 
Robinson's for me, " to be put into the next parcel, to be 
sent to ' Joseph Cottle, bookseller, Bristol.' " Have you 
received an " Ode " -^ of mine from Parsons ? In your 
next letter tell me what you think of the scattered poems 
I sent you. Send me any poems, and I will be minute in 
criticism. For, O Thelwall, even a long-winded abuse is 
more consolatory to an author s feelings than a short- 
breathed, asthma - lunged panegyric. Joking apart, I 
would to God we could sit by a fireside and joke viva 
voce, face to face — Stella and Sara, Jack Thelwall and 
I. As I once wrote to my dear friend, T. Poole, " re- 
peating — 

' Such verse as Bowles, heart-honour'd poet, sang, 
That wakes the Tear, yet steals away the Pang, 
Then, or with Berkeley or with Hobbes romance it, 
Dissecting Truth with metaphysic lancet. 
Or, drawn from up those dark unfathom'd wells. 
In wiser folly clink the Cap and Bells. 
How many tales we told ! what jokes we made ! 
Conundrum, Crambo, Rebus, or Charade ; 
-Enigmas that had driven the Theban ^ mad, 
And Puns, then best when exquisitely bad ; 
And I, if aught of archer vein I hit 
With my own laughter stifled my own wit.' " ' 

1 The Ode on the Departing Year. ^ Poetical Works, p. 459. 

2 (Edipus. 








[Stowey, 1797.] 
Mt dear Friend, — I was indeed greatly rejoiced at 
the first siglit o£ a letter from you ; but its contents were 
painful. Dear, dear Mrs. Estlin ! Sara burst into an 
agony of tears that she had been so ill. Indeed, indeed, 
we hover about her, and think and talk of her, with 
many an interjection of prayer. I do not wonder that 
you have acquired a distaste to London — your associa- 
tions must be painful indeed. But God be praised ! you 
shall look back on those sufferings as the vexations of a 
dream ! Our friend, T. Poole, particularly requests me 
to mention how deeply he condoles with you in Mrs. Est- 
lin's ilhiess, how fervently he thanks God for her recov- 
ery. I assure you he was extremely affected. We are 
all remarkably well, and the child grows fat and strong. 
Our house is better than we expected — there is a com- 
fortable bedroom and sitting-room for C. Lloyd, and 
another for us, a room for Nanny, a kitchen, and out- 
house. Before our door a clear brook runs of very soft 
water ; and in the back yard is a nice ivell of fine spring 
water. We have a very pretty garden, and large enough 
to find us vegetables and employment, and I am already 
an expert gardener, and both my hands can exhibit a Gal- 
ium as testimonials of their industry. We have like- 
wise a sweet orchard, and at -the end of it T. Poole has 


made a gate, which leads into his garden, and from 
thence either through the tan yard into his house, or else 
through his orchard over a fine meadow into the garden 
of a Mrs. Cruikshank, an old acquaintance, who married 
on the same day as I, and has got a little girl a little 
younger than David Hartley. Mrs. Cruikshank is a 
sweet little woman, of the same size as my Sara, and they 
are extremely cordial. T. Poole's mother behaves to us 
as a kind and tender mother. She is very fond indeed of 
my wife, so that, you see, I ought to be happy, and, thank 
God, I am so. . . . 


Stowey near Bkidgewatee, Somerset. 
February 6, 1797. 

I thank you, my dear ThelwaU, for the parcel, and 
your letters. Of the contents I shall speak in the order 
of their importance. First, then, of your scheme of a 
school, I approve it ; and fervently wdsh, that you may 
find it more easy of accomplishment than my fears sug- 
gest. But try, by all means, try. Have hopes without 
expectations to hazard disappointment. Most of our 
patriots are tavern and parlour patriots, that wdll not 
avow their principles by any decisive action ; and of the 
few who would wish to do so, the larger part are unable, 
from their children's expectancies on rich relations, etc., 
etc. May these remain enough for your Stella to employ 
herself on ! Try, by all means, try. For your comfort, 
for your j^rogressiveness in literar}^ excellence, in the 
name of everything that is happy, and in the name of 
everything that is miserable, I would have you do any- 
thing honest rather than lean with the whole weight of 
your necessities on the Press. Get bread and cheese, 
clothing and housing independently of it ; and you may 
then safely trust to it for beef and strong beer. You 
will find a country life a happy one ; and you might live 


comfortably with an hundred a year. Fifty pounds you 
might, I doubt not, gain by reviewing and furnishing 
miscellanies for the different magazines ; you might safely 
speculate on twenty pounds a year or more from your com- 
positions published separately — 50-f20 = X70; and by 
severe economy, a little garden labour, and a pigstye, this 
would do. And, if the education scheme did not succeed, 
and I could get engaged by any one of the Reviews and 
the new " Monthly Magazine," I would try it, and begin 
to farm by little and slow degrees. You perceive that by 
the Press I mean merely lorHting without a certainty. 
The other is as secure as anything else could be to you. 
With health and spirits it would stand ; and without 
health and spirits every other mode of maintenance, as 
well as reviewing, would be impracticable. You are going 
to Derby ! I shall be with you in spirit. Derby is no 
common place ; but where you will find citizens enough 
to fill your lecture-room puzzles me. Dr. Darwin will no 
doubt excite your respectful curiosity. On the whole, I 
think, he is the first literary character in Europe, and the 
most original-minded man. Mrs. Crompton is an angel ; 
and Dr. Crompton a truly honest and benevolent man, 
possessing good sense and a large portion of humour. I 
never think of him without respect and tenderness ; never 
(for, thank Heaven ! I abominate Godwinism) without 
gratitude. William Strutt ^ is a man of stern aspect, but 

^ William and Joseph Strutt were "was actually made, but the relations 
the sons of Jedediah Strutt, of on both sides intervened, and she 
Derby. The eldest, William, was was reluctantly compelled to with- 
the father of Edward Strutt, ere- draw her proposal. By way of con- 
ated Lord Belper in 1856. Their solation, she entertained Coleridge 
sister, Elizabeth, who had married and his wife at Darley Hall, and he- 
William Evans of Darley Hall, was fore he left presented him with a 
at this time a widow. She had been handsome sum of money and a store 
struck by Coleridge's writings, or of baby-linen, worth, if one may ac- 
perhaps had heard him preach when cept Coleridge's valuation, a matter 
he visited Derby on his Watchman of forty pounds. Thomas Poole and 
tour, and was anxious to engage him his Friends, i. 152-154 ; Estlin LeU 
as tutor to her children. The offer ters, p. 13. 


strong, very strong abilities. Joseph Strutt every way 
amiable. He deserves his wife — which is saying a great 
deal — for she is a sweet-minded woman, and one that 
you would be apt to recollect whenever you met or used 
the words lovely, handsome, beautiful, etc. " While 
smiling Loves the shaft display, And lift the playful torch 
elate." Perhaps you may be so fortunate as to meet 
with a Mrs. Evans whose seat is at Darley, about a mile 
from Derby. Blessings descend on her ! emotions crowd 
on me at the sight of her name. We spent five weeks at 
her house, a sunny spot in our life. My Sara sits and 
thinks and thinks of her and bursts into tears, and when 
I turn to her says, " I was thinking, my dear, of Mrs. 
Evans and Bessy" (that is, her daughter). I mention 
this to you, because things are characterized by their 
effects. She is no common being who could create so 
warm and lasting an interest in our hearts ; for we are 
no common people. Indeed, indeed, Thelwall, she is with- 
out exception the greatest woman I have been fortunate 
enough to meet with in my brief pilgrimage through life. 
At Nottingham you will surely be more likely to obtain 
audiences ; and, I doubt not, you will find a hospitable 
reception there. I was treated by many families with 
kindliness, by some with a zeal of affection. Write me 
if you go and when you go. Now for your pamphlet. It 
is well written, and the doctrine sound, although some- 
times, I think, deduced falsely. For instance (p. iii.) : 
It is true that all a man's children, " however begotten, 
whether in marriage or out," are his heirs in nature, and 
ought to be so in true policy ; but, instead of tacitly allow- 
ing that I meant by it to encourage what Mr. B.^ and the 

1 Probably Jacob Bryant, 1715- 1T02 ; The Sentiments of Philo-Ju- 

1804, author of An Address to Dr. dxeus concerning the Logos or Word 

Priestley upon his Doctrine of Philo- of God, 1797, etc. Allibone's Dic- 

sophical Necessity, 1780; Treatise on tionary, i, 270. 
the Authenticity of the Scriptures, 


priests would call licentiousness (and whicli surely, Thel- 
wall, in the present state of society you must allow to be 
injustice, inasmucli as it deprives the woman of her re- 
spectability in the opinions of her neighbours), I would 
have shown that such a law would of all others operate 
most powerfully va. favour of marriage ; by which word I 
mean not the effect of spells uttered by conjurers, but 
permanent cohabitation useful to society as the best con- 
ceivable means (in the present state of society, at least) 
of ensuring nurture and systematic education to infants 
and children. We are but frail beings at present, and 
want such motives to the practice of our duties. Un- 
chastity may be no vice, — I think it is, — but it may 
be no vice, abstractly speaking ; yet from a variety of 
causes unchaste women are almost without exception 
careless mothers. Wife is a solemn name to me because 
of its influence on the more solemn duties of mother. 
Such passages (p. 30 is another of them) are offensive. 
They are mere assertions, and of course can convince no 
person who thinks differently ; and they give pain and 
irritate. I write so frequently to you on this subject, 
because I have reason to hnow that passages of this order 
did give very general offence in your first part, and have 
operated to retard the sale of the second. If they had 
been arguments or necessarily connected with your main 
argument, I am not the man, Thelwall, who would op- 
pose the filth of prudentials merely to have it swept 
away by the indignant torrent of your honesty. But as I 
said before, they are mere assertions ; and certainly their 
truth is not self-evident. With the exception of these 
passages, the pamphlet is the best I have read since the 
commencement of the war ; warm, not fiery, well-seasoned 
without being dry, the periods harmonious yet avoiding 
metrical harmony, and the ornaments so dispersed as to 
set off the features of truth without turning the attention 
on themselves. I account for its slow sale partly from 


your having compared yourself to Christ in the first 
(which gave great offence, to my knowledge, although 
very foolishly, I confess), and partly from the sore and 
fatigued state of men's minds, which disqualifies them for 
works of principle that exert the intellect without agita- 
ting the passions. But it has not been reviewed yet, has 
it ? I read your narrative and was almost sorry I had 
read it, for I had become much interested, and the abrupt 
" no more " jarred me. I never heard before of your 
variance with Home Tooke. Of the poems, the two 
Odes are the best. Of the two Odes, the last, I think ; 
it is in the best style of Akenside's best Odes. Several 
of the sonnets are pleasing, and whenever I was pleased 
I paused, and imaged you in my mind in your caj)tivity. 
. . . My Ode ^ by this time you are conscious that you 
have praised too highly. With the exception of " I un- 
partaking of the evil thing," which line I do not think 
injudiciously weak, I accede to all your remarks, and 
shall alter accordingly. Your remark that the line on 
the Empress had more of Juvenal than Pindar flashed 
itself on my mind. I had admired the line before, but 
I became immediately of your opinion, and that criticism 
has convinced me that your nerves are exquisite electro- 
meters ^ of taste. You forgot to point out to me that the 

1 " Ode to the Departing Year," _ in mind I mean, and heart. Her 

published in the Cambridge Intelli- information various. Hereyewatch- 

gencer, December 24, 1796. The ful in minutest observation of nature ; 

lines on the " Empress," to which and her taste a perfect electrometer. 

Thelwall objected, are in the first It bends, protrudes, and draws in, at 

epode : subtlest beauties and most recondite 

No more on Murder's lurid face laiilts. 
The insatiate Hag siiall gloat with drunken Bennett's, or the gold leaf electro- 
eye, scope, is an instrument for " detect- 
Poetical Works, p. 79. ing the presence, and determining 

^ Compare the well-known de- the kind of electricity in any body." 

scription of Dorothy Wordsworth, Two narrow strips of gold leaf are 

in a letter to Cottle of July, 1797 : attached to a metal rod, terminating 

' W. and his exquisite sister are in a small brass plate above, eon- 

with me. She is a woman, indeed, tained in a glass shade, and these 


whole cliildbirtli of Nature is at once ludicrous and dis- 
gusting, an epigram smart yet bombastic. The "review 
of Bryant's pamphlet is good — the sauce is better than 
the fish. Speaking of Lewis's death, surely you forget 
that the legislature of France were to act by laws and 
not by general morals ; and that they violated the law 
which they themselves had made. I will take in the " Cor- 
responding Society Magazine." That good man, James 
Losh, has just published an admirable treatise trans- 
lated from the French of Benjamin Constant,^ entitled, 
" Consideration on the Strength of the Present Govern- 
ment of France." " Woe to that country when crimes 
are punished by crimes, and where men murder in the 
name of justice." I apply this to the death of the mis- 
taken but well-meaning Lewis. ^ I never go to Bristol. 
From seven till half past eight I work in my garden ; 
from breakfast till twelve I read and compose, then read 
again, feed the pigs, poultry, etc., till two o'clock ; after 
dinner work again till tea ; from tea till supper, review. 
So jogs the day, and I am happy. I have society — my 
friend T. Poole, and as many acquaintances as I can dis- 
pense with. There are a number of very pretty young 

under certain conditions of the ap- settled at Jesmond, Newcastle. His 

plication of positive and negative name occurs among the subscribers 

electricity diverge or collapse. to The Friend. Letters from the Lake 

The gold leaf electroscope was Poets, p. 453. 

invented by Abraham Bennett in ^ Compare stanzas eight and nine 

1786. Cottle's Early Recollections, of " The Mad Ox : " — 

i. 252; Ganot's Physics, 1870, p. Old Lewis ('t was his evil day) 

532 _ Stood trembling in his shoes ; 

I'ms tract On the Strength of The ox was his -what could he say? 

,_-,.. _ I I T\- His legs were stiffened with dismay, 

the Existing Government (the Direc- ^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^,^^ ^^^ ^^i^ tj^^ ^^^y^ 

tory) of France, and the Necessity ^^^ g^ye him his death's bruise. 
of supporting it, was published in 

YiqQ The baited ox drove on (but here, 

The translator, James Losh, de- ^^he Gospel scarce more true is 

' • • 1 ^y muse stops short m mid career — 

scribed by Southey as a provmcial ^^^^ ^^^^-^^ reader, do not sneer ! 

counsel," was at one time resident in j could chuse but drop a tear, 

Cumberland, and visited Coleridge A tear for good old Lewis !) 

at Greta Hall. At a later period he Poetical Works, p. 134. 


women in Stowey, all musical, and I am an immense 
favourite : for I pun, conundrumize, listen, and dance. 
The last is a recent acquirement. "We are very happy, 
and my little David Hartley grows a sweet boy and has 
high health ; he laughs at us till he makes us weep for 
very fondness. You would smile to see my eye rolling 
up to the ceiling in a lyric fury, and on my knee a diaper 
pinned to warm. I send and receive to and from Bristol 
every week, and will transcribe that part of your last 
letter and send it to Reed. 

I raise potatoes and all manner of vegetables, have an 
orchard, and shall raise corn with the spade, enough for 
my family. We have two pigs, and ducks and geese. A 
cow would not answer the keej) : for we have whatever 
milk we want from T. Poole. God bless you and your 

S. T. Coleridge. 


June, 1T97. 

My DEAR Cottle, — I am sojourning for a few days 

at Racedown, the mansion of our friend Wordsworth, 

who has received Fox's " Achmed." He returns you his 

acknowledgments, and presents his kindliest respects to 

1 The probable date of this let- We hare both a distinct remem- 

ter is Thursdaj', June 8, 1797. On brance of his arrival. He did not 

Monday, June 5, Coleridg-e break- keep to the high road, but leaped 

fasted with Dr. Toulmin, the Unita- over a liigh gate and bounded down 

rian minister at Taunton, and on the the pathless field, by which he cut 

evening of that or the next day he off an angle. We both retain the 

arrived on foot at Racedown, some liveliest possible image of his ap- 

fortj' miles distant. Mrs. Words- pearance at that moment. My poor 

worth, in a letter to Sara Coleridge, sister has jiist been speaking of it to 

dated November 7, 1845, conveys me with much feeling and tender- 

her husband's recollections of this ness." A portion of this letter, of 

first visit in the following words : which I possess the original MS., was 

" Your father," she says, " came printed by Professor Knight in his 

afterwards to visit us at Racedown, Life of Wordsworth, i. 111. 
where I was living- with my sister. 


you. I sliall be home by Friday — not to-morrow — but 
the next Friday. If the " Ode on the Departing Year " 
be not reprinted, please to omit the lines from " When 
shall scepter'd slaughter cease," to " For still does Mad- 
ness roam on Guilt's bleak dizzy height," inclusive.^ The 
first epode is to end at the words "murderer's fate." 
Wordsworth admires my tragedy, which gives me great 
hopes. Wordsworth has written a tragedy himself. I 
speak with heartfelt sincerity, and (I think) unblinded 
judgment, when I tell you that I feel myself a little man 
hy his side, and yet do not think myself the less man than 
I formerly thought myself. His drama is absolutely 
wonderful. You know I do not commonly speak in such 
abrupt and unmingled phrases, and therefore will the 
more readily believe me. There are in the piece those 
'profound touches of the human heart which I find three 
or four times in " The Robbers " of Schiller, and often 
in Shakespeare, but in Wordsworth there are no inequal- 
ities. T. Poole's opinion of Wordsworth is that he is the 
greatest man he ever knew ; I coincide. 

It is not impossible, that in the course of two or three 
months I may see you. God bless you, and 


Thursday. — Of course, with the lines you omit the 
notes that relate to them. 

Mk. Cottle, Bookseller, High Street, Bristol. 


July, 1797. 

Dear Southet, — You are acting kindly in your ex- 
ertions for Chatterton's sister; but I dovibt the success. 
Chatterton's or Rowley's poems were never popular. The 
very circumstance which made them so much talked of, 

^ This passage, which for some the poems had not appeared by the 
reason Cottle chose to omit, seems beginning of June, 
to imply that the second edition of 


their ancientness, prevented them from bemg generally 
read, in the degree, I mean, that Goldsmith's poems or 
even Bogers' thing npon memory has been. The sale was 
never very great. Secondly, the London Edition and the 
Cambridge Edition, which are now both of them the 
property of London booksellers, are still in hand, and 
these booksellers will " hardly exert their interest for a 
rival." Thirdly, these are had times. Fourthly, all who 
are sincerely zealous for Cliatterton, or who from know- 
ledge of her are interested in poor Mrs. Newton, will come 
forwards first, and if others should drop in but slowly, 
Mrs. Newton will either receive no benefit at all from 
those her friends, or one so long procrastinated, from the 
necessity of waiting for the complement of subscribers, 
that it may at last come too late. For these reasons I am 
almost inclined to think a sid)Scription simj)ly would be 
better. It is unpleasant to cast a damp on anything; 
but that benevolence alone is likely to be beneficent which 
calculates. If, however, you continue to entertain higher 
hopes than I, believe me, I will shake off my sloth, and 
use my best muscles in gaining subscribers. I ^^dll cer- 
tainly write a preliminary essay, and I will attempt to 
write a poem on the life and death of Cliatterton, but the 
Monody must not he rejjrintcd. Neither this nor the 
Pixies' Parlour would have been in the second edition, but 
for dear Cottle's solicitous importunity. Excepting the 
last eighteen lines of the Monody, which, though deficient 
in chasteness and severity of diction, breathe a pleasing 
spirit of romantic feeling, there are not five lines in either 
poem which might not have been written by a man who 
had lived and died in the self-same St. Giles' cellar, in 
which he had been first suckled by a drab with milk 
and gin. The Pixies is the least disgusting, because the 
subject leads you to expect nothing, but on a life and 
death so full of heart-going realities as poor Chatterton's, 
to find such shadowy nobodies as cherub-winged Death, 


Trees of Hope, bare-bosomed Affection and simpering 
Peace, makes one's blood circulate like ipecacuanha. But 
so it is. A young man by strong feelings is impelled 
to write on a particular subject, and this is all bis feel- 
ings do for him. They set him upon the business and 
then they leave him. He has such a high idea of what 
poetry ought to be, that he cannot conceive that such 
things as his natural emotions may be allowed to find a 
place in it ; his learning therefore, his fancy, or rather 
conceit, and all his powers of buckram are put on the 
stretch. It appears to me that strong feeling is not so 
requisite to an author's being profoundly pathetic as taste 
and good sense. 

Poor old Whag ! his mother died of a dish of clotted 
cream, which my mother sent her as a present. 

I rejoice that your poems are all sold. In the ballad of 
" Mary the Maid of the Inn," you have properly enough 
made the diction colloquial, but " engages the eye," ap- 
plied to a gibbet, strikes me as slij^shojij^ish from the 
unfortunate meaning of the word " engaging." Your 
praise of my Dedication ^ gave me great pleasure. From 
the ninth to the fourteenth the five lines are flat and 
prosish, and the versification ever and anon has too much 
of the rhyme couplet cadence, and the metaphor ^ on 

1 . . . Such, O my earliest friend ! Compare Lamb's humorous re- 

Thy lot, and such thy brotliers too enjoy. ^^^^^ -^ ^ j^^^^^ ^^ Coleridge, Sep- 

At distance did ye climb life's upland road, ,^n n -n ip x 

TT i 1 J J u ■ X 4- 1 tember, 1797: rormyseli 1 must 

Yet cheered and cheermg : now fraternal , "^ > j 

love spoil a little passage of Beaum^ont 

Hath drawn you to one centre. and Fletcher's to adapt it to m^y 

Poetical Works, p. 81, 1. 9-14. feehngs : — 

... I am prouder 

2 . . . and some most false, That I was once your friend, tho' now for- 
False, and fair-foliaged as the Manchineel, got, 

Have tempted me to slumber in their shade Than to have had another true to me. 
E'en mid the storm ; then breathing sub- 
tlest damp " If you don't write to me now, 

Mixed their own venom with the rain from as I told Lloyd, I shall get angry, 

Heaven, and call you hard names — Manchi- 

That I woke poisoned. ^^^y, and I don't know what else." 

Poetical Works, p. 82, 1. 25-30. Letters of Charles Lamb, i. 83. 


the diverse sorts of friendship is hunted down, but the 
poem is dear to me, and in point of taste I place it next 
to " Low was our pretty Cot," which I think the best of 
my poems. 

I am as much a Pangloss as ever, only less contemptu- 
ous than I used to be, when I argue how unwise it is to 
feel contempt for anything. 

I had been on a visit to Wordsworth's at Racedown, 
near Crewkerne, and I brought him and his sister back 
with me, and here I have settled them. By a combina- 
tion of curiovis circumstances a gentleman's seat, with 
a park and woods, elegantly and completely furnished, 
with nine lodging rooms, three parlours, and a hall, in the 
most beautiful and romantic situation by the seaside, four 
miles from Stowey, — this we have got for Wordsworth at 
the rent of twenty-three pounds a year, taxes included 1 
The park and woods are his for all purjDoses he wants 
them, and the large gardens are altogether and entirely 
his. Wordsworth is a very great man, the only man to 
whom at all times and in all modes of excellence I feel 
myself inferior, the only one, I mean, whom I have yet 
met with, for the London literati appear to me to be 
very much like little potatoes, that is, no great things, a 
compost of nullity and dullity. 

Charles Lamb has been with me for a week.^ He left 
me Friday morning. The second day after Wordsworth 
came to me, dear Sara accidentally emptied a skillet of 
boiling milk on my foot, which confined me during the 
whole time of C. Lamb's stay and still prevents me from 
all walks longer than a furlong. While Wordsworth, his 
sister, and Charles Lamb were out one evening, sitting in 
the arbour of T. Poole's garden ^ which communicates with 

1 Charles Lamb's visit to the cot- ^ According to local tradition, the 

tage of Nether Stowey lasted from lime-tree bower was at the back of 

Friday, July 7, to Friday, July 14, the cottage, but according to this 

1797. letter it was in Poole's garden. 




mine I wrote these lines, with which I am pleased, (I 
heard from C. Lamb of Favell and Le Grice.^ Poor 
Allen ! I knew nothing of it.^ As to Rough,^ he is a 
wonderful fellow ; and when I returned from the army, 
cut me for a month, till he saw that other people were as 
much attached as before.) 

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain, 
Lam'd by the scathe of fire, lonely and faint. 
This lime-tree bower my prison ! They, meantime 
My Friends,* whom I may never meet again. 

From either spot the green ram- 
parts of Stowey Castle and the 
" airy ridge " of Dowseborough are 
full in view. 

^ ' ' He [Le Grice] and Favell . . . 
wrote to the Duke of York, when 
they were at college, for commis- 
sions in the army. The Duke good- 
naturedly sent them." Autobiogra- 
phy of Leigh Hunt, p. 72. 

^ Possibly he alludes to his ap- 
pointment as deputy-surgeon to the 
Second Royals, then stationed in 

His farewell letter to Coleridge 
(undated) has been preserved and 
will be read with interest. 


My Beloved Fkiend, — Fare- 
well ! I shall never think of you 
but with tears of the tenderest af- 
fection. Our routes in life have 
been so opposite, that for a long 
time past there has not been that 
intercourse between us which our 
mutual affection would have other- 
wise occasioned. But at this seri- 
ous moment, all your kindness and 
love for me press upon my memory 
with a weight of sensation I can 
scarcely endure. 

You have heard of my destination, 
I suppose. I am going to Portugal 
to join the Second Royals, to which 
I have been appointed Deputy-Sur- 
geon. What fate is in reserve for 
me I know not. I should be more 
indifferent to my future lot, if it 
were not for the hope of passing 
many pleasant hours, in times to 
come, in your society. 

Adieu ! my dearest fellow. My 
love to Mrs. C. Health and frater- 
nity to young David. 

Yours most affectionate, 

R. Allen. 

^ A friend and fellow-collegian 
of Christopher Wordsworth at Trin- 
ity College, Cambridge. He was a 
member of the " Literary Society " 
to which Coleridge, C. Wordsworth, 
Le Grice, and others belonged. He 
afterwards became a sergeant-at- 
law. He was an intimate friend of 
H. Crabb Robinson. See H. C. 
Robinson's Diary, passim. See, too, 
Social Life at the English Universi- 
ties, by Christopher Wordsworth, 
M. A., Fellow of Peterhouse, Cam- 
bridge, 1874, Appendix. 

* Not, as has been supposed, 


On springy ^ heath, along the hill-top edge 
Wander delig-hted, and look down, perchance, 
On that same rifted Dell, where many an ash 
Twists its wild limbs beside the ferny ^ rock 
Whose plumy ferns forever nod and drip, 
Spray'd by the waterfall. But chiefly thou 
My gentle-hearted Charles I thou who had pin'd 
And hunger'd after Nature many a year. 
In the great City pent, winning thy way 
With sad yet bowed soul, through evil and pain 
And strange calamity ! Ah ! slowly sink 
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun ! 
Shine in the slant heaven of the sinking orb, 
Ye purple heath-flowers ! richlier burn, ye clouds 
Live in the yellow Light, ye distant groves ! 
Struck with joy's deepest calm, and gazing round 
On * the wide view, may gaze till all doth seem 
Less gross than bodily ; a hving thing 
That acts upon the mind, and with such hues 
As clothe the Almighty Spirit, when He makes 
Spirits perceive His presence ! 

A delight 
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad 
As I myself were there ! nor in the bower 

Charles and Mary Lamb, but Words- " My sister," but in forming friend- 
worth and his sister Dorothy. Mary ships Coleridge did not " keep to 
Lamb was not and could not have the high road, but leaped over a 
been at that time one of the party, gate and bounded ' ' from acquaint- 
The version sent to Southey differs ance to intimacy. Poetical Works, 
both from that printed in the Annual p. 92. For version of " This Lime- 
Anthology of 1800, and from a copy Tree Bower my Prison," sent to C. 
in a contemporary letter sent to C. Lloyd, see Ibid., Editor's Note, p. 
Lloyd. It is interesting to note 591. 

that the words, " My sister, and my ^ " Elastic, I mean." — S. T. C. 

friends," 11. 47 and 53, which gave ^ " The ferns that grow in moist 

place in the Anthology to tlie thrice- places grow five or six together, and 

repeated, ' ' My gentle - hearted form a complete ' Prince of Wales's 

Charles," appear, in a copy sent Feathers,' — that is, plumy." — S. 

to Lloyd, as " My Sara and my T. C. 

friend." It was early days for him ^ " You remember I am a Berk- 

to address Dorothy Wordsworth as leian" — S. T. C. 


Want I sweet sounds or pleasing shapes. I watch'd 

The sunshine of each broad transparent leaf 

Broke by the shadows of the leaf or stem 

Which hung above it : and that walnut-tree 

Was richly ting'd, and a deep radiance lay 

Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps 

Those fronting elms, and now with blackest mass 

Makes their dark foliage gleam a lighter hue 

Through the late twilight : and though the rapid bat 

Wheels silent by, and not a swallow titters, 

Yet still the solitary humble bee 

Sings in the bean-flower ! Henceforth I shall know 

That Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure ; 

No scene so narrow, but may well employ 

Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart 

Awake to Love and Beauty ! and sometimes 

'T is well to be bereav'd of promised good, 

That we may lift the soul and contemplate 

With lively joy the joys we cannot share. 

My Sister and my Friends ! when the last rook 

Beat its straight path along the dusky air 

Homewards, I bless'd it ! deeming its black wing 

Cross'd like a speck the blaze of setting day 

While ye stood gazing ; or when all was still. 

Flew creaking o'er your heads, and had a charm 

For you, my Sister and my Friends, to whom 

No sound is dissonant which tells of Life. 

I would make a shift by some means or other to visit 
you, if I thought that you and Edith Southey woukl re- 
turn with me. I think — indeed, I am almost certain — 
that I could get a one-horse chaise free of all expense. I 
have driven back Miss Wordsworth over forty miles of 
execrable roads, and have been always very cautious, and 
am now no inexpert whip. And Wordsworth, at whose 
house I now am for change of air, has commissioned me 
to offer you a suite of rooms at this place, which is called 
" AU-foxen ; " and so divine and wild is the country that 


I am sure it would increase your stock of images, and 
three weeks' absence from Christchurch will endear it to 
you ; and Edith Southey and Sara may not have another 
opportunity of seeing one another, and Wordsworth is 
very solicitous to know you, and Miss Wordsworth is a 
most exquisite young woman in her mind and heart. I 
pray you write me immediately, directing Stowey, near 
Bridgewater, as before. 

God bless you and your affectionate 



Saturday morning [October 16], 1797. 

My dear Thelwall, — I have just received your let- 
ter, having been absent a day or two, and have already, 
before I write to you, written to Dr. Beddoes. I would 
to Heaven it were in my power to serve you ; but alas ! I 
have neither money or influence, and I suppose that at last 
I must become a Unitarian minister, as a less evil than 
starvation. For I get nothing by literature. . . . You 
have my wishes and, what is very liberal in me for such an 
atheist reprobate, my prayers. I can at times feel strongly 
the beauties you describe, in themselves and for them- 
selves ; but more frequently all things appear little, all 
the knowledge that can be acquired child's play ; the 
universe itself ! what but an immense heap of little things ? 
I can contemplate nothing but parts, and parts are all 
little ! My mind feels as if it ached to behold and know 
something great, something one and indivisihle. And it is 
only in the faith of that that rocks or waterfalls, moun- 
tains or caverns, give me the sense of sublimity or ma- 
jesty ! But in this faith all th ings counterfeit infinity. 

" Struck with the deepest cahn of joy," ^ I stand 
Silent, with swimming sense ; and gazing round 

1 " This Lime-Tree Bower," 1. 38. Poetical Works, p. 93. 


On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem 
Less gross than bodily, a living Thing 
Which acts upon the mind and with such hues 
As clothe th' Almighty Spirit, where He makes 
Spirits perceive His presence ! . . . 

It is but seldom that I raise and spiritualize my intel- 
lect to this height ; and at other times I adopt the Brah- 
min creed, and say, " It is better to sit than to stand, it is 
better to lie than to sit, it is better to sleep than to wake, 
but Death is the best of all ! " I should much wish, like 
the Indian Vishnu, to float about along an infinite ocean 
cradled in the flower of the Lotus, and wake once in a mil- 
lion years for a few minutes just to know that I was going 
to sleep a million years more. I have put this feeling in 
the mouth of Alhadra, my Moorish Woman. She is going 
by moonlight to the house of Yelez, where the band turn 
off to wreak their vengeance on Francesco, but 

She moved steadily on, 
Unswerving from the path of her resolve. 

A Moorish priest, who has been with her and then left 
her to seek the men, had just mentioned the owl, " Its 
note comes dreariest in the fall of the year." This dweUs 
on her mind, and she bursts into this soliloquy : — 

The ^ hanging woods, that touch'd by autumn seem'd 

As they were blossoming hues of fire and gold, — 

The hanging woods, most lovely in decay. 

The many clouds, the sea, the rock, the sands, 

Lay in the silent moonshine ; and the owl, 

(Strange ! very strange !) the scritch owl only waked, 

Sole voice, sole eye of all that world of beauty ! 

Why such a thing am I ? Where are these men ? 

I need the sympathy of human faces 

To beat away this deep contempt for all things, 

Which quenches my revenge. Oh ! would to Alia 

1 " Osorio," Act V., Sc. 1, 1. 39. Poetical Works, p. 507. 


The raven and the sea-mew were appointed 
To hring me food, or rather that my soul 
Could drink in life from universal air ! 
It were a lot divine in some small skiff, 
Along some ocean's boundless solitude, 
To float for ever with a careless course. 
And think myself the only being alive ! 

I do not wonder that your poem procured you kisses 
and hospitality. It is indeed a very sweet one, and I have 
not only admired your genius more, but I have loved you 
better since I have read it. Your sonnet (as you call it, 
and, being a freeborn Briton, who shall prevent you from 
calling twenty-five blank verse lines a sonnet, if you have 
taken a bloody resolution so to do) — your sonnet I am 
much pleased with ; but the epithet " downy " is probably 
more applicable to Susan's upper lip than to her bosom, 
and a mother is so holy and divine a being that I cannot 
endure any corporealizing epithets to be applied to her 
or any body of her — besides, damn epithets ! The last 
line and a half I suppose to be miswritten. What can 
be the meaning of " Or scarce one leaf to cheer," etc. ? 
" Cornelian virtues " — pedantry ! The " melancholy 
fiend," villainous in itself, and inaccurate ; it ought to 
be the " fiend that makes melancholy." I should have 
written it thus (or perhaps something better), "but with 
matron cares drives away heaviness ; " and in your similes, 
etc., etc., a little compression would make it a beautiful 
poem. Study compression ! 

I presume you mean decorum by Harum Dick. An 
affected fellow at Bridgwater called truces " trusses." I 
told him I admired his pronunciation, for that lately they 
had been found " to suspend ruptures without curing 

There appeared in the " Courier " the day before yes- 
terday a very sensible vindication of the conduct of the 
Directory. Did you see it ? 


Your news respecting Mrs. E. did not surprise me. I 
saw it even from the first week I was at Darley. As to 
the other event, our non-settlement at Darley, I suspect, 
had little or nothing to do with it — but the cause of our 
non-settlement there might perhaps — O God ! O God ! 
I wish (but what is the use of wishing f) — I wish that 
Walter Evans may have talent enough to appreciate Mrs. 
Evans, but I suspect his intellect is not tall enough even 
to measure hers. 

Hartley is well, and vMl not walk or run, having dis- 
covered the art of crawling with wonderful ease and ra- 
pidity. Wordsworth and his sister are well. I want to 
see your wife. God bless her ! . . . 

Oh, my Tragedy ! it is finished, transcribed, and to be 
sent off to-day ; but I have no hope of its success, or even 
of its being acted. 

God bless, etc., 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Mr. John Thelwall, Derby. 


Saturday morning', Bridgwater. 
[Autumn, 1797.] 

My dear Thelwall, — Yesterday morning I miss'd 
the coach, and was ill and could not walk. This morning 
the coach was completely full, but I was not ill, and so 
did walk ; and here I am, footsore very, and weary some- 
what. With regard to the business, I mentioned it at 
Howell's ; but I perceive he is absolutely powerless. 
Chubb I would have called on, but there are the Assizes, 
and I find he is surrounded in his own house by a mob of 
visitors whom it is scarcely possible for him to leave, long 
enough at least for the conversation I want with him. I 
will write him to-morrow morning, and shall have an an- 
swer the same day, which I will transmit to you on Mon- 
day, but you cannot receive it till Tuesday night. If, 


therefore, you leave Swansea before that time, or, in case 
of accident, before Wednesday night, leave directions with 
the postmaster to have your letter forwarded. 

I go for Stowey immediately, which will make my walk 
forty-one miles. The Howells desire to be remembered to 
you kindly. 

I am sad at heart about you on many accounts, but 
chiefly anxious for this present business. The aristocrats 
seem to persecute even Wordsvxjrth} But we will at least 
not yield without a struggle ; and if I cannot get you near 
me, it shall not be for want of a trial on my part. But 
perhaps I am passing the worn-out spirits of a /a^-walk 
for the real aspect of the business. 

God love you, and believe me affectionately your 

S. T. Coleridge. 
Mr. Thelwall, 
To be left at the Post Office, Swansea, 


[Autumn, 1797.] 

Dear Thelwall, — This is the first hour that I coidd 
write to you anything decisive. I have received an an- 
swer from Chubb, intimating that he will undertake the 
office of procuring you a cottage, provided it was thought 
right that you should settle here ; but this (that is the whole 
difficulty) he left for T. Poole and me to settle, and he 
acquainted Poole with this determination. Consequently, 

^ Thelwall's visit brought Cole- tenant for having sublet the house 

ridge and Wordsworth into trouble, to Wordsworth. See letter of ex- 

At the instance of a "titled Dog- planation and remonstrance from 

berry," Sir Philip Hale of Canning- Poole to Mrs. St. Albyn, September 

ton, a government spy was sent to 16, 1797. Thomas Poole and his 

■watch the movements of the sup- Friends, i. 240. See, too, Cottle's 

posed conspirators, and, a more seri- Early Becollections, i. .319, and for 

ous matter, Mrs. St. Albyn, the owner apocryphal anecdotes about the spy, 

of Alfoxden. severely censured her etc., Biographia Literaria, cap. x. 


the whole returns to its former situation ; and the hope 
which I had entertained, that you could have settled with- 
out any the remotest interference of Poole, has vanished. 
To such interference on his part there are insuperable 
difficulties : the whole malignity of the aristocrats will 
converge to him as to the one point ; his tranquillity will 
be perpetually interrupted, his business and his credit 
hampered and distressed by vexatious calumnies, the ties 
of relationship weakened, perhaps broken ; and, lastly, his 
poor old mother made miserable — the pain of the stone 
aggravated by domestic calamity and quarrels betwixt her 
son and those neighbours with whom and herself there 
have been peace and love for these fifty years. Very 
great odium T. Poole incurred by bringing me here. My 
peaceable manners and known attachment to Christian- 
ity had almost worn it away when Wordsworth came, 
and he, likewise by T. Poole's agency, settled here. You 
cannot conceive the tumult, calumnies, and apparatus of 
threatened persecutions which this event has occasioned 
round about us. If you, too, shoidd come, I am afraid 
that even riots, and dangerous riots, might be the conse- 
quence. Either of us separately would perhaps be toler- 
ated, but all three together, what can it be less than plot 
and damned conspiracy — a school for the propagation of 
Demagogy and Atheism ? And it deserves examination, 
whether or no as moralists we should be justified in haz- 
arding the certain evil of calling forth malignant passions 
for the contingent good, that might result from our living 
in the same neighbourhood? Add to which, that in point 
of the public interest, we must take into the balance the 
Stowey Benefit Club. Of the present utility of this T. 
Poole thinks highly ; of its possible utility, very, very highly 
indeed ; but the interests, nay, perhaj^s the existence of 
this club, is interwoven with his character as a peaceable 
and uncle signing man; certainly, any future and greater 
excellence which he hojaes to realize in and through the 


society will vanish like a dream of tlie morning. If, there- 
fore, you can get the land and cottage near Bath of which 
you spoke to me, I would advise it on many accounts ; but 
if you still see the arguments on the other side in a 
stronger light than those which I have stated, come, but 
not yet. Come in two or three months — take lodgings 
at Bridgwater — familiarise the people to your name and 
appearance, and, when the monstrosity of the thing is 
gone off, and the people shall have begim to consider you 
as a man whose mouth won't eat them, and whose pocket 
is better adapted for a bundle of sonnets than the trans- 
portation or ambush place of a French army, then you 
may take a house ; but indeed (I say it with a very sad 
but a very clear conviction), at present I see that much 
evil and little good would result from your settling here. 

I am unwell. This business has, indeed, preyed much 
on my spirits, and I have suffered for you more than I hope 
and trust you will suffer yourself. 

God love you and yours. 

S. T. Coleridge. 
Mr. Thelwall, 
To be left at the Post Office, Swansea, Glamorgaiisliire. 


Tuesday moruing, January, 1798. 

My dear Wordsworth, — You know, of course, that 
I have accepted the magnificent liberality of Josiali and 
Thomas Wedgwood.^ I accepted it on the presumption 

1 Their proposal was to settle on Llyswen, March 3, 1798, contains one 

Coleridge " an annuity for life of of several announcements of " his 

£150, to be regularly paid by us, no good fortune," made by Coleridge at 

condition whatever being annexed to the time to his numerous friends. 

it." See letter of Josiah Wedgwood 
to Coleridge, dated January 10, 1798. 

To Dr. Crompton, Eton House, Nr. Liver- 


I an: 
Thelwall to Dr. Crompton dated the particulars of Coleridge's good 

Thomas Poole and his Friends, i. Llysw-en, 3d March, 11 

258. An unpublished letter from I am surprised you have not lieard 




that I had talents, honesty, and propensities to perse- 
verant effort. If I have hoped wisely concerning myself, 
I have acted justly. But dismissing severer thoughts, 
believe me, my dear fellow ! that of the pleasant ideas 
which accompanied this unexpected event, it was not the 
least pleasant, nor did it pass through my mind the last 
in the procession, that I should at least be able to trace 
the spring and early smnmer at Alfoxden with you, and 
that wherever your after residence may be, it is probable 
that you will be within the reach of my tether, length- 
ened as it now is. The country round Shrewsbury is 
rather tame. My imagination has clothed it with all its 
summer attributes ; but I still can see in it no possibility 
beyond that of heauty. The Society here were sufficiently 
eager to have me as their minister, and, I think, would 

fortune. It is not a legacy, but a 
gift. The circumstances are thus 
expressed by himself in a letter of 
the 30th January : " I received an in- 
vitation from Shrewsbury to be the 
Unitarian minister, and at the same 
time an order for £100 from Thomas 
and Josiah Wedgwood. I accepted 
the former and returned the latter 
in a long letter explanatory of my 
motive, and went ofE to Shrewsbury, 
where they were on the point of 
electing me unanimously and with 
unusual marks of affection, where I 
received an offer from T. and J. 
Wedgwood of an annuity of £1.50 
to be legally settled on me. Aston- 
ished, agitated, and feeling as I 
could not help feeling, I accepted 
the offer in the same worthy spirit, 
I hope, in which it was made, and 
this morning I have returned from 
Shrewsbury." This letter was writ- 
ten in a great hurry in Cottle's shop 
in Bristol, in answer to one which a 
friend of mine had left for him there, 
on his way from Llyswen to Gosport, 

and you will perceive that it has a 
dash of the obscure not uncommon 
to the rapid genius of C. Whether 
he did or did not accept the cure of 
Unitarian Souls, it is difficult from 
the account to make out. I suppose 
he did not, for I know his aversion 
to preaching God's holy word for 
hire, which is seconded not a little, I 
expect, by his repugnance to all reg- 
ular routine and application. I also 
hope he did not, for I know he can- 
not preach very often without travel- 
ling from the pulpit to the Tower. 
Mount him but upon his darling 
hobby-horse, " the republic of God's 
own making," and away he goes like 
hey-go-mad, spattering and splash- 
ing through thick and thin and scat- 
tering more levelling sedition and 
constructive treason than poor Gilly 
or myself ever dreamt of. He 
promised to write to me again in a 
few days ; but, though I answered his 
letter directly, I have not heard from 
him since. 


have behaved kindly and respectfully, but I perceive 
clearly that without great courage and perseverance in the 
use of the monosyllable No I I should have been plunged in 
a very Maelstrom of visiting — whirled round, and round, 
and round, never changing yet always moving. Visiting 
with all its pomp and vanities is the mania of the place ; 
and many of the congregation are both rich and expensive. 
I met a young man, a Cambridge undergraduate. Talk- 
ing of plays, etc., he told me that an acquaintance of his 
was printing a translation of one of Kotzebue's tragedies, 
entitled, "■ Benyowski." ^ The name startled me, and upon 
examination I found that the story of my " Siberian 
Exiles " has been already dramatized. If Kotzebue has 
exhibited no greater genius in it than in his negro slaves, 
I shall consider this as an unlucky circumstance ; but the 
young man speaks enthusiastically of its merits. I have 
just read the " Castle Spectre," and shall bring it home 
with me. I will begin with its defects, in order that my 
" But " may have a charitable transition. 1. Language; 
2. Character ; 3. Passion ; 4. Sentiment ; 5. Conduct. 
(1.) Of styles, some are pleasing durably and on reflec- 
tion, some only in transition, and some are not pleasing at 
all ; and to this latter class belongs the " Castle Spectre." ^ 
There are no felicities in the humorous passages ; and in 
the serious ones it is Schiller Lems-ized, that is, a flat, 
flabby, unimaginative bombast oddly sj^rinkled with col- 
loquialisms. (2.) No character at all. The author in a 
postscript lays claim to novelty in one of his characters, 
that of Hassan. Now Hassan is a negro, who had a 
warm and benevolent heart ; but lia^dng been kidnapped 
from his country and barbarously used by the Cliristians, 
becomes a misanthrope. This is all ! ! (3.) Passion — 

^ Count Benyowsky, or the Con- versity of Cambridge. Cambridge, 

spiracy of Kamtschatka, a Tragi- 1798. 

comedy. Translated from the Ger- 2 Coleridge's copy of Monk Lewis' 

man by the Rev. W. Render, teacher play is dated January 20, 1798. 
of the German Language in the Uni- 


horror ! agonizing pangs of conscience ! Dreams full of 
hell, serpents, and skeletons ; starts and attempted mur- 
ders, etc., but positively, not one line that marks even a 
superficial knowledge of human feelings could I discover. 
(4.) Sentiments are moral and humorous. There is a 
book called the " Frisky Songster," at the end of which 
are two chapters : the first containing frishy toasts and 
sentiments, the second, " Moral Toasts," and from these 
chapters I suspect Mr. Lewis has stolen all his sentimen- 
tality, moral and humorous. A very fat friar, renowned 
for gluttony and lubricity, furnishes abundance of jokes 
(all of them abdominal vel si quid i?ifra'), jokes that wordd 
have stunk, had they been fresh, and alas I they have the 
very sceva mephitis of antiquity on them. Btit (5.) the 
Conduct of the Piece is, I think, good ; except that the 
first act is wholly taken up with ex23lanation and narra- 
tion. This play proves how accurately you conjectured 
concerning theatric merit. The merit of the " Castle 
Spectre " consists wholly in its situations. These are all 
borrowed and all absolutely pantomimical ; but they are 
admirably managed for stage effect. There is not much 
bustle, but situations for ever. The whole plot, machinery, 
and incident are borrowed. The play is a mere patch- 
work of plagiarisms ; but they are very well worked up, 
and for stage effect make an excellent whole. There is a 
pretty little ballad-song introduced, and Lewis, I think has 
great and peculiar excellence in these compositions. The 
simplicity and naturalness is his own, and not imitated ; 
for it is made to subsist in congruity with a language 
perfectly modern, the language of his own times, in the 
same way that the language of the writer of " Sir 
Cauline " was the language of his times. This, I think, 
a rare merit : at least, I find, / cannot attain this inno- 
cent nakedness, except by assum^jtion. I resemble the 
Duchess of Kingston, who masqueraded in the character 
of "Eve before the Fall," in flesh-coloured Silk. This 


play struck me with utter hopelessness. It would [be 
easy] to produce these situations, but not in a play so 
[constructed] as to admit the permanent and closest 
beauties of style, passion, and character. To admit panto- 
mimic tricks, the plot itself must be pantomimic. Harle- 
quin cannot be had unaccompanied by the Fool. 

I hope to be with you by the middle of next week. I 
must stay over next Sunday, as Mr. Row is obliged to go 
to Bristol to seek a house. He and his family are honest, 
sensible, pleasant people. My kind love to Dorothy, and 
believe me, with affectionate esteem, yours sincerely, 



Stowet, March 8, 1798. 

Mt dear Cottle, — I have been confined to my bed 
for some days through a fever occasioned by the stump of 
a tooth. ... I thank you, my dear friend, for your late 
kindness, and in a few weeks will either repay you in 
money or by verses, as you like. With regard to Lloyd's 
verses, it is curious that /should be applied to to be " per- 
suaded to resign, and in hope that I might " consent to give 
up a number of poems which were published at the earnest 
request of the author, who assured me that the circum- 
stance was " of no trivial import to his happiness." Times 
change and people change ; but let us keep our souls in 
quietness ! I have no objection to any disposal of C. 
Lloyd's poems, except that of their being republished with 
mine. The motto which I had prefixed, " Duplex," etc. ,2 
from Groscollius, has placed me in a ridiculous situation ; 
but it was a foolish and presumptuous start of affection- 

^ The following memoranda, pre- " The sun's course is short, but 

sumably in Wordsworth's hand writ- clear and blue the sky.'' 

ing, have been scribbled on the ^ " Duplex nobis vinculum, et ami- 

outside sheet of the letter : " Tea citife et similiuni junctarumque Ca- 

— Thread fine — needles Silks — mcenarum ; quod utinam neque mors 

Strainer for starch — Mustard — Ba- solvat, neque temporis longinquitas." 
sil's shoes — Shoe horn. 


ateness, and I am not unwilling to incur punishments due 
to my folly. By past experiences we build up our moral 
being. How comes it that I have never heard from dear 
Mr. Estlin, my fatherly and brotherly friend ? This idea 
haunted me through my sleepless nights, till my sides were 
sore in turning from one to the other, as if I were hoping 
to turn from the idea. The Giant Wordsworth — God 
love him ! Even when I speak in the terms of admira- 
tion due to his intellect, I fear lest those terms should 
keep out of sight the amiableness of his manners. . . . 
He has written more than 1,200 lines of a blank verse, 
superior, I hesitate not to aver, to anything in our lan- 
guage which any way resembles it. Poole (whom I feel 
so consolidated with myself that I seem to have no occa- 
sion to speak of him out of myself) thinks of it as likely 
to benefit mankind much more than anything Wordsworth 
has yet written. With regard to my poems, I shall pre- 
fix the " Maid of Orleans," 1,000 lines, and three blank 
verse poems, making all three about 200, and I shall ut- 
terly leave out perhaps a larger quantity of lines ; and I 
should think it would answer to you in a pecuniary way to 
print the third edition humbly and cheaply. My altera- 
tions in the " Religious Musings " will be considerable, and 
will lengthen the poem. Oh, Poole desires you not to 
mention his house to any one unless you hear from him 
again, as since I have been writing a thought has struck 
us of letting it to an inhabitant of the village, which we 
should prefer, as we should be certain that his manners 
would be severe, inasmuch as he would be a Stow-ic. 

God bless you and 

S. T. C. 


April, 1798. 

Mt DEAR Brother, — An illness, which confined me 
to my bed, prevented me from returning an immediate 


answer to your kind and interesting letter. My indispo- 
sition originated in the stump of a tootli over which, some 
matter had formed ; this affected my eye, my eye my 
stomach, my stomach my head, and the consequence was 
a general fever, and the sum of pain was considerably in- 
creased by the vain attempts of our surgeon to extract the 
offending member. Laudanum gave me repose, not sleep ; 
but you, I believe, know how divine that repose is, what a 
spot of enchantment, a green spot of fountain and flowers 
and trees in the very heart of a waste of sands ! God be 
praised, the matter has been absorbed ; and I am now re- 
covering apace, and enjoy that newness of sensation from 
the fields, the air, and the sun which makes convalescence 
almost repay one for disease. I collect from your letter 
that our opinions and feelings on political subjects are 
more nearly alike than you imagine them to be. Equally 
with you (and perhaps with a deeper conviction, for my 
belief is founded on actual experience), equally with you I 
deprecate the moral and intellectual habits of those men, 
both in England and France, who have modestly assumed 
to themselves the exclusive title of Philosophers and 
Friends of Freedom. I think them at least as distant from 
greatness as from goodness. If I know my own opinions, 
they are utterly untainted with French metaphysics, French 
politics, French ethics, and French theology. As to the 
Rulers of France, I see in their views, speeches, and ac- 
tions nothing that distinguishes them to their advantage 
from other animals of the same species. History has 
taught me that rulers are much the same in all ages, and 
under all forms of government ; they are as bad as they 
dare to be. The vanity of ruin and the curse of blindness 
have clung to them like an hereditary leprosy. Of the 
French Revolution I can give my thoughts most ade- 
quately in the words of Scripture : " A great and strong 
wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks 
before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind ; and 


after the wind an earthquake ; and after the earthquake a 
fire ; and the Lord was not in the fire ; " and now (believ- 
ing that no calamities are permitted but as the means of 
good) I wrap my face in my mantle and wait, with a sub- 
dued and patient thought, expecting to hear " the still 
small voice " which is of God. In America (I have re- 
ceived my information from unquestionable authority) the 
morals and domestic habits of the people are daily deteri- 
orating ; and one good consequence which I expect from 
revolution is that individuals will see the necessity of indi- 
vidual effort ; that they will act as good Christians, rather 
than as citizens and electors ; and so by degrees will purge 
off that error, which to me appears as wild and more per- 
nicious than the -n-dyxpycrov and panacea of the alchemists, 
the error of attributing to governments a talismanic influ- 
ence over our virtues and our happiness, as if governments 
were not rather effects than causes. It is true that all ef- 
fects react and become causes, and so it must be in some 
degree with governments ; but there are other agents which 
act more powerfully because by a nigher and more contin- 
uous agency, and it remains true that governments are 
more the effect than the cause of that which we are. Do 
not therefore, my brother, consider me as an enemy to 
government and its rulers, or as one who says they are 
evil. I do not say so. In my opinion it were a species of 
blasphemy ! Shall a nation of drunkards presume to bab- 
ble against sickness and the headache ? I regard govern- 
ments as I regard the abscesses produced by certain fevers 
— they are necessary consequences of the disease, and by 
their pain they increase the disease ; but yet they are in 
the wisdom and goodness of Nature, and not only are they 
physically necessary as effects, but also as causes they are 
morally necessary in order to prevent the utter dissolution 
of the patient. But what shoidd we think of a man who 
expected an absolute cure from an ulcer that only pre- 
vented his dying. Of guilt I say nothing, but I believe 


most steadfastly in original sin ; that from our mothers' 
wombs our vmderstandings are darkened ; and even where 
our understandings are in the light, that our organization 
is depraved and our volitions imperfect; and we some- 
times see the good without wishing to attain it, and of- 
tener ^^^i<^l it without the energy that wills and performs. 
And for this inherent depravity I believe that the spirit 
of the Gospel is the sole cure ; but permit me to add, that 
I look for the spirit of the Gospel " neither in the moun- 
tain, nor at Jerusalem." 

You think, my brother, that there can be but two par- 
ties at present, for the Government and against the Gov- 
ernment. It may be so. I am of no party. It is true I 
think the present Ministry weak and unprincipled men ; 
but I would not with a safe conscience vote for their 
removal ; I could point out no substitutes. I think very 
seldom on the subject ; but as far as I have thought, I am 
inclined to consider the aristocrats as the most respec- 
table of our three factions, because they are more decorous. 
The Opposition and the Democrats are not only vicious, 
they wear t\Q filthy garments of vice. 

He that takes 
Deep in Hs soft credulity the stamp 
Design'd by loud declaimers on the part 
Of liberty, themselves the slaves of lust, 
Incurs derision for his easy faith 
And lack of knowledge, and with cause enough : 
For when was public ■\drtue to be found 
Where private was not ? Can he love the -whole 
Who loves no part ? He be a nation'' s friend, 
Who is, in truth, the friend of no man there ? 
Can he be strenuous in his country's cause 
Who slights the charities, for whose dear sake 
That country, if at all, must be belov'd ? 


I am prepared to sviffer without discontent the conse- 
quences of my follies and mistakes ; and unable to con- 

1 The Task, Book V., " A Winter's Morning Walk." 


ceive how that which I am of Good could have been 
without that which I have been o£ evil, it is withheld from 
me to regret anything. I therefore consent to be deemed 
a Democrat and a Seditionist. A man's character follows 
him long after he has ceased to deserve it ; but I have 
snapped my squeaking baby-trumpet of sedition, and the 
fragments he scattered in the lumber-room of penitence. 
I wish to be a good man and a Christian, but I am no 
Whig, no Reformist, no Republican, and because of the 
multitude of fiery and undisciplined spirits that lie in 
wait against the public quiet under these titles, because 
of them I chiefly accuse the present ministers, to whose 
folly I attribute, in a great measure, their increased and 
increasing numbers. You think differently, and if I were 
called upon by you to prove my assertions, although I 
imagine I could make them appear plausible, yet I should 
feel the insufficiency of my data. The Ministers may 
have had in their possession facts which alter the whole 
state of the argmnent, and make my syllogisms fall as 
flat as a baby's card-house. And feeling this, my brother ! 
I have for some time past withdrawn myself totally from 
the consideration of immediate causes^ which are infi- 
nitely complex and uncertain, to muse on fundamental 
and general causes the " causae causarum." I devote 
myself to such works as encroach not on the anti-social 
passions — in poetry, to elevate the imagination and set 
the affections in right tune by the beauty of the inani- 
mate impregnated as with a living soul by the presence of 
life — in prose to the seeking with patience and a slow, 
very slow mind, " Quid sumus, et quidnam victuri gigni- 
mus," — what our faculties are and what they are capable 
of becoming. I love fields and woods and mountains 
with almost a visionary fondness. And because I have 
found benevolence and quietness growing within me as 
that fondness has increased, therefore I should wish to be 
the means of implanting it in others, and to destroy the 


bad passions not by combating them but by keeping tbem 
in inaction. 

Not useless do I deem 
These shadowy sympathies with things that hold 
An inarticulate Language ; for the Man — 
Once taught to love such objects as excite 
No morbid passions, no disquietude, 
No vengeance, and no hatred — needs must feel 
The joy of that pure principle of love 
So deeply, that, unsatisfied with aught 
Less pure and exquisite, he cannot choose 
But seek for objects of a kindred love 
In fellow-nature and a kindred joy. 
Accordingly he by degrees perceives 
His feelings of aversion softened down ; 
A holy tenderness pervade his frame ! 
His sanity of reason not impair'd. 
Say, rather, that his thoughts now flowing clear 
From a clear fountain flowing, he looks round. 
He seeks for good ; and finda the good he seeks. 


I have laid down for myself two maxims, and, what is 
more I am in the habit of regulating myself by them. 
With regard to others, I never controvert opinions except 
after some intimacy, and when alone with the person, and 
at the happy time when we both seem awake to our own 
fallibility, and then I rather state my reasons than argue 
against his. In general conversation to find out the 
opinions common to us, or at least the subjects on which 
difference of opinion creates no uneasiness, such as 
novels, poetry, natural seeneiy, local anecdotes, and (in a 
serious mood and with serious men) the general evidences 
of our religion. With regard to mj'^self, it is my habit, 
on whatever subject I think, to endeavour to discover all 
the good that has resulted from it, that does result, or 
that can result. To this I bind down my mind, and after 
long meditation in this tract slowly and gradually make 

^ A later version of these lines is fourth book of " The Excursion." 
to be found at the close of the Works of Wordsworth, 1889, p. 467. 

1798] TO J. P. ESTLIN 245 

up my opinions on the quantity and nature of the evil. I 
consider this as the most important rule for the regulation 
of the intellect and the affections, as the only means of 
preventing the passions from turning reason into a hired 
advocate. I thank you for your kindness, and propose in 
a short time to walk down to you : but my wife must forego 
the thought, as she is within five or six weeks of lying-in. 
She and my child, whose name is David Hartley, are 
remarkably well. You will give my duty to my mother, 
and love to my brothers, to Mrs. S. and G. Coleridge. 

Excuse my desultory style and illegible scrawl, for I 
have written you a long letter, you see, and am in truth 
too weary to write a fair copy of it, or rearrange my 
ideas, and I am anxious you should know me as I am. 

God bless you, from your affectionate brother, 



May [? 1798]. 

My dear Friend, — I write from Cross, to which place 
I accompanied Mr. Wordsworth, who will give you this 

^ In the series of letters to Dr. quarrel with Lloyd, and consequent 

Estlin, contributed to the privately distress of mind, with the retirement 

printed vohimes of the Philobi- to "the lonely farm-house," and a 

blon Society, the editor, Mr. Henry first recourse to opium. If, as the 

A. Bright, dates this letter May letters intimate, these events must 

(? 1797). A comparison with a second be assigned to May, 1798, it follows 

letter to Estlin. dated May 14, 1798 that " Kubla Khan " was written at 

(Letter LXXXII.), with a letter to the same time, and not, as Coleridge 

Poole, dated May 28, 1798 (Letter maintained in the Preface of 1816, 

LXXXIV.), with a letter to Charles "in the summer of 1797." 

Lamb belonging to the spring of It would, indeed, have been alto- 

1798 (Letter LXXXV.), and with an gether miraculous if, before he had 

entry in Dorothy Wordsworth's jour- written a line of " Christabel," or 

nal for May 16, 1798, affords convin- "The Ancient Mariner," either in an 

cing proof that the date of the letter actual dream, or a dreamlike reverie, 

should be May, 1798. it had been "given to him " to divine 

The MS. note of November 10, the enchanting images of " Kubla 
1810, to which a previous reference Khan," or attune his mysterious vis- 
has been made, connects a serious ion to consummate melody. 


letter. We visited Cheddar, but liis main business was to 
bring back poor Lloyd, whose infirmities have been made 
the instruments of another man's darker passions. But 
Lloyd (as we found by a letter that met us in the road) 
is off for Birmingham. Wordsworth proceeds, lest possi- 
bly Lloyd may not be gone, and likewise to see his own 
Bristol friends, as he is so near them. I have now known 
him a year and some months, and my admiration, I might 
say my awe, of his intellectual powers has increased even 
to this hour, and (what is of more importance) he is a 
tried good man. On one subject we are habitually silent ; 
we found our data dissimilar, and never renewed the sub- 
ject. It is his practice and almost his nature to convey 
all the truth he knows without any attack on what he sup- 
poses falsehood, if that falsehood be interwoven with vir- 
tues or happiness. He loves and venerates Christ and 
Christianity. I wish he did more, but it were wrong in- 
deed if an incoincidence with one of our wishes altered 
our respect and affection to a man of whom we are, as it 
were, instructed by one great Master to say that not being 
against us he is for us. His genius is most apparent in 
poetry, and rarely, except to me in tete-a-tete, breaks forth 
in conversational eloquence. My best and most affection- 
ate wishes attend Mrs. Estlin and your little ones, and be- 
lieve me, with filial and fraternal friendship, your grateful 

Rev. J. P. Estlin, 

St. Michael's Hill, Bristol. 


Monday, May 14, 1798. 

My deae Feiend, — I ought to have written to you 
before ; and have done very wrong in not writing. But I 
have had many sorrows and some that bite deep ; calumny 
and ingratitude from men who have been fostered in the 
bosom of my confidence ! I pray God that I may sanctify 

1798] TO J. P. ESTLIN 247 

these events by forgiveness and a peaceful spirit full of 
love. This morning, half-past one, my wife was safely 
delivered of a fine boy ; ^ she had a remarkably good time, 
better if possible than her last, and both she and the child 
are as well as can be. By the by, it is only three in the 
morning now. I walked in to Taunton and back again, 
and performed the divine services for Dr. Touhnin. I 
suppose you must have heard that his daughter, in a mel- 
ancholy derangement, suffered herself to be swallowed up 
by the tide on the sea-coast between Sidmouth and Bere. 
These events cut cruelly into the l;earts of old men ; but 
the good Dr. Toulmin bears it like the true practical 
Christian, — there is indeed a tear in his eye, but that eye 
is lifted up to the Heavenly Father. I have been too neg- 
lectful of practical religion — I mean, actual and stated 
prayer, and a regular perusal of scripture as a morning 
and evening duty. May God grant me grace to amend 
this error, for it is a grievous one ! Conscious of frailty I 
almost wish (I say it confidentially to you) that I had be- 
come a stated minister, for indeed I find true joy after a 
sincere prayer ; but for want of habit my mind wanders, 
and I cannot ijray as often as I ought. Thanksgiving is 
pleasant in the performance ; but prayer and distinct con- 
fession I find most serviceable to my spiritual health when 
I can do it. But though all my doubts are done away, 
though Christianity is my passion, it is too much my 
intellectual passion, and therefore will do me but little 
good in the hour of temptation and calamity. 

My love to Mrs. E. and the dear little ones, and ever, 
O ever, believe me, with true affection and gratitude. 
Your filial friend, S. T. Coleridge. 

1 Berkeley Coleridge, born May 14, 1798, died February 10, 1799. 



Monday, May 14, 1798. 
Morning, 10 o'clock. 

My dearest Friend, — I have been sitting many 
minutes with my pen in my hand, full of prayers and 
wishes for you, and the house of affliction in which you 
have so trying a part to sustain — but I know not what 
to write. May God support you ! May he restore your 
brother — but above all, I pray that he will make us able 
to cry out with a fervent sincerity : Thy will be done ! 
I have had lately some sorrows that have cut more deeply 
into my heart than they ought to have done, and I have 
found religion, and commonjplace religion too, my re- 
storer and my comfort, giving me gentleness and cahn- 
ness and dignity ! Again and again, may God be with 
you, my best, dear friend ! and believe me, my Poole ! 
dearer, to my understanding and affections unitedly, than 
all else in the world ! 

It is almost painful and a thing of fear to tell you that 
I have another boy ; it will bring upon your mind the too 
affecting circumstance of poor Mrs. Richard Poole ! The 
prayers which I have offered for her have been a relief 
to my own mind ; I woidd that they could have been a 
consolation to her. Scripture seems to teach us that our 
fervent prayers are not without efficacy, even for others ; 
and though my reason is perplexed, yet my internal feel- 
ings impel me to a humble faith, that it is possible and 
consistent with the divine attributes. 

Poor Dr. Toulmin ! he bears his calamity like one in 
whom a faith through Jesus is the JTahit of the whole 
man, of his affections still more than of his convictions. 
The loss of a dear child in so friglitful a way cuts cruelly 
with an old man, but though there is a tear and an 
anguish in his eye, that eye is raised to heaven. 

Sara was safely delivered at half past one this morning 

1898] TO CHARLES LAMB 249 

— the boy is already almost as large as Hartley. She 
had an astonishingly good time, better if possible than 
her last ; and excepting her weakness, is as well as ever. 
The child is strong and shapely, and has the paternal 
beauty in his upper lip. God be praised for aU things. 
Your affectionate and entire friend, 



Sunday evening [May 20, 1798], 

My deakest Poole, — I was all day yesterday iu a 
distressing perplexity whether or no it would be wise or 
consolatory for me to call at your house, or whether I 
should write to your mother, as a Christian friend, or 
whether it would not be better to wait for the exhaustion 
of that grief which must have its way. 

So many unpleasant and shocking circumstances have 
happened to me in my immediate knowledge within the 
last fortnight, that I am in a nervous state, and the most 
trifling thing makes me weep. Poor Richard ! May 
Providence heal the wounds which it hath seen good to 
inflict ! 

Do you wish me to see you to-day ? Shall I call on 
you ? Shall I stay with you ? or had I better leave you 
uninterrupted ? In all your sorrows as in your joys, I 
am, indeed, my dearest Poole, a true and faithful sharer ! 

May God bless and comfort you all ! 



[Spring- of 1798.] 

Dear Lamb, — Lloyd has informed me through Miss 
Wordsworth that you intend no longer to correspond with 

^ The original MS. of this letter, post. Besides this, only three of Cole- 
which was preserved by Coleridge, ridge's letters to Lamb have been 
is, doubtless, a copy of that sent by preserved, — the " religious letter " 


me. This lias given me little pain ; not that I do not love 
and esteem you, but on the contrary because I am confi- 
dent that your intentions are pure. You are performing 
what you deem a duty, and humanly speaking have that 
merit which can be derived from the performance of a 
painful duty. Painful, for you would not without strug- 
gles abandon me in behalf of a man ^ who, wholly ignorant 
of all but your name, became attached to you in conse- 
quence of my attachment, caught his from my enthusiasm, 
and learned to love you at my fireside, when often while I 
have been sitting and talking of your sorrows and afflic- 
tions I have stopped my conversations and lifted up wet 
eyes and prayed for you. No ! I am confident that 
although you do not think as a wise man, you feel as a 
good man. 

From you I have received little pain, because for you 
I suffer little alarm. I cannot say this for your friend ; 
it appears to me evident that liis feelings are vitiated, 
and that his ideas are in their combination merely the 
creatures of those feelings. I have received letters from 
him, and the best and kindest wish which, as a Christian, 
I can offer in return is that he may feel remorse. 

Some brief resentments rose in my mind, but they did 
not remain there ; for I began to think almost immedi- 
ately, and my resentments vanished. There has resulted 
only a sort of fantastic scepticism concerning my own 
consciousness of my own rectitude. As dreams have im- 
pressed on him the sense of reality, my sense of reality 
may be but a dream. From his letters it is plain that 
he has mistaken the heat and bustle and swell of self- 
justification for the approbation of his conscience. I am 
certain that this is not the case with me, but the himian 
heart is so wily and inventive that possibly it may be 

of 1796, a letter concerning the quar- ticulars of Hood's Odes to Great 

rel with Wordsworth, of May, 1812 People). 

[Letter CLXXXIV.], and one writ- i Charles Lloyd. 

ten in later life (undated, on the par- 




cheating me, wlio am an older warrior, with some newer 
stratagem. When I wrote to you that my Sonnet to Sim- 
plicity ^ was not composed with reference to Southey, 
you answered me (I believe these were the words) : 
" It was a lie too gross for the grossest ignorance to be- 
lieve ; " and I was not angry with you, because the asser- 

^ The three sonnets of " Nehemiah 
Higginbottom " were published in 
the Monthly Magazine for Noveraber, 
1797. Compare his letter to Cottle 
{E. E. i. 289) which Mr. Dykes 
Campbell takes to have been written 
at the same time. 

" I sent to the Monthly Magazine, 
three mock sonnets in ridicule of 
m^yown Poems, and Charles Lloyd's 
and Charles Lamb's, etc., etc., expos- 
ing that affectation of unaffected- 
ness, of jumping and misplaced ac- 
cent, in commonplace epithets, flat 
lines forced into poetry by italics 
(signifying how well and mouthishly 
the author would read them), puny 
pathos, etc., etc. The instances were 
all taken from myself and Lloyd 
and Lamb. I signed them ' Nehe- 
miah Higginbottom.' I hope they 
may do good to our young bards." 

The publication of these sonnets 
in November, 1797, cannot, as Mr. 
Dykes Campbell points out {Poetical 
Works, Tp. 599), have been the imme- 
diate cause of the breach between 
Coleridge and Lamb which took 
place in the spring or early summer 
of 1798, but it seems that during the 
rise and progress of this quarrel the 
Sonnet on Simplicity was the occa- 
sion of bitter and angry words. As 
Lamb and Lloyd and Southey drew 
together, they drew away from Cole- 
ridge, and Southey, who had only 
been formally reconciled with his 
brother-in-law, seems to have re- 

garded this sonnet as an iU-natured 
parody of his earlier poems. In a 
letter to Wynn, dated November 20, 
1797, he says, " I am aware of the 
danger of studying simplicity of 
language," and he proceeds to quote 
some lines of blank verse to prove 
that he could employ the " grand 
style " when he chose. 

A note from Coleridge to Southey, 
posted December 8, 1797, deals with 
the question, and would, if it had 
not been for Lloyd's " tittle-tattle," 
have convinced both Southey and 
Lamb that in the matter they were 
entirely mistaken. 

I am sorry, Southey ! very sorry 
that I wrote or published those son- 
nets — but ' sorry ' would be a tame 
word to express my feelings, if I had 
written them with the motives which 
you have attiibuted to me. I have 
not been in the habit of treating our 
separation with levity — nor ever 
since the first moment thought of it 
without deep emotion — and how 
could you apply to yourself a sonnet 
written to ridicule infantine simpli- 
city, vulgar colloquialisms, and lady- 
like friendships ? I have no con- 
ception, neither I believe could a 
passage in your writings have sug- 
gested to me or any man the no- 
tion of your ' plainting plaintively.' 
I am sorry that I wrote thus, be- 
cause I am sorry to perceive a dis- 
position in you to believe evil of me, 




tion which the grossest ignorance would believe a lie the 
Omniscient knew to be truth. This, however, makes me 
cautious not too hastily to affirm the falsehood of an 
assertion of Lloyd's that in Edmund Oliver's ^ love-fit, 
leaving college, and going into the army he had no sort 
of allusion to or recollection of my love-fit, leaving college, 
and going into the army, and that he never thought of my 
person in the description of Oliver's person in the first 
letter of the second volume. This cannot appear stranger 
to me than my assertion did to you, and therefore I will 
suspend my absolute faith. 

of which your remark to Charles 
Lloyd was a painfnl instance. I say 
this to you, becaiise I shall say it 
to no other being. I feel myself 
wounded and hurt and write as such. 
I believe in my letter to Lloyd I 
forgot to mention that the Editor of 
the Morning Post is called Stuart, 
and that he is the brother-in-law of 
Mackintosh. Yours sincerely, 


Thursday morning. 

Post-mark, Dec. 8, 1797. 
Mr. Southey, No. 23 East Street, 

Red Lion Square, London. 

1 Charles Lloyd's novel, Edmund 
Oliver, was published at Bristol in 
1798. It is dedicated to " His friend 
Charles Lamb of the India House." 
He says in the Preface : " The inci- 
dents relative to the army were 
given me by an intimate friend who 
was himself eye-witness of one of 
them." The general resemblance 
between the events of Coleridge's 
earlier history and the story of Ed- 
mund Oliver is not very striking, but 
apart from the description of "his 
person " in the first letter of the sec- 
ond volume, which is close enough, 
a single sentence from Edmund Oli- 
ver's journal, i. 245, betrays the 

malignant nature of the attack. " I 
have at all times a strange dream- 
iness about me which makes me in- 
different to the future, if I can by 
any means fill the present with sen- 
sations, — with that dreaminess I 
have gone on here from day to day ; 
if at any time thought -troubled, I 
have swallowed some spirits, or had 
recourse to my laudanum." In the 
same letter, the account which Ed- 
mund Oliver gives of his sensations 
as a recruit in a regiment of light 
horse, and the vivid but repulsive 
picture which he draws of his squalid 
surroundings in " a pot-house in the 
Borough," leaves a like impression 
that Coleridge confided too much, 
and that Lloyd remembered " not 
wisely but too well." How Cole- 
ridge regarded Lloyd's malfeasance 
may be guessed from one of his so- 
called epigrams. 


Two things hast thou made known to half 

the nation, 
My secrets and my want of penetration : 
For oh ! far more than all which thou hast 

It shames me to have called a wretch, like 

thee, my friend ! 

Poetical Works, p. 448. 

1798] TO CHARLES LAMB 253 

I wrote to you not that I wish to hear from you, but 
that I wish you to write to Lloyd and press upon him the 
propriety, nay the necessity, of his giving me a meeting 
either tete-a-tete or in the presence of all whose esteem I 
value. This I owe to my own character ; I owe it to him if 
by any means he may even yet be extricated. He assigned 
as reasons for his rupture my vices ; and he is either right 
or wrong. If right, it is fit that others should know it 
and follow his example ; if wrong, he has acted very 
wrong. At present, I may expect everything from his 
heated mind rather than continence of language, and his 
assertions will be the more readily believed on account of 
his former enthusiastic attachment, though with wise men 
this would cast a hue of suspicion over the whole affair ; 
but the number of wise men in the kingdom would not 
puzzle a savage's arithmetic — you may tell them in every 
[community] on your fingers. I have been unfortunate 
in my connections. Both you and Lloyd became ac- 
quainted with me when your minds were far from being 
in a composed or natural state, and you clothed my image 
with a suit of notions and feelinos which could belono- to 
nothing human. You are restored to comparative sane- 
ness, and are merely wondering what is become of the 
Coleridge with whom you were so passionately in love ; 
Charles Lloyd's mind has only changed his disease, and 
he is now arraying his ci-devant Angel in a flaming San 
Benito — the whole ground of the garment a dark brim- 
stone and plenty of little devils flourished out in black. 
Oh, me ! Lamb, " even in laughter the heart is sad ! " My 
kindness, my affectionateness, he deems wheedling ; but, if 
after reading all my letters to yourself and to him, you 
can suppose him wise in his treatment and correct in his 
accusations of me, you think worse of human nature than 
poor human nature, bad as it is, deserves to be thought of. 
God bless you and S. T. Coleridge. 






The letters which Coleridge wrote from Germany were, 
with few exceptions, addressed either to his wife or to 
Poole. They have never been published in full, but dur- 
ing his life and since his death various extracts have 
appeared in print. The earlier letters descriptive of his 
voyage, his two visits to Hamburg, his interviews with 
Klopstock, and his settlement at Ratzeburg were published 
as " Satyrane's Letters," first in November-December, 
1809, in Nos. 14, 16, and 18 of "The Friend," and again, 
in 1817, in the " Biographia Literaria " (ii. 183-253). 
Two extracts from letters to his wife, dated respectively 
January 14 and April 8, 1799, appeared in No. 19 of 
"The Friend," December 28, 1809, as "Christmas In- 
doors in North Germany," and " Christmas Out of Doors." 
In 1828, Coleridge placed a selection of unpublished let- 
ters from Germany in the hands of the late S. C. Hall, 
who printed portions of two (dated " Clausthal, May 17, 
1799") in the "Amulet" of 1829, under the title of 
" Fragments of a Journal of a Tour over the Brocken, 
by S. T. Coleridge." The same extract is included in Gill- 
man's " Life of Coleridge," pp. 125, 138. 

After Coleridge's death, Mr. Hall published in the 
"New Monthly Magazine" (1835, No. 45, pp. 211-226) 
the three last letters from Germany, dated May 17, 18, 
and 19, which include the " Tour over the Brocken." 
Selections from Coleridge's letters to Poole of April 8 


and May 6, 1799, were published by Mrs. Sandford in 
" Thomas Poole and his Friends " (i. 295-299), and four 
letters from Poole to Coleridge are included in the same 
volume (pp. 277-294). A hitherto unpublished letter 
from Coleridge to his wife, dated January 14, 1799, ap- 
peared in " The Illustrated London News," April 29, 
1893. For further particulars relative to Coleridge's life 
in Germany, see Carlyon's " Early Years," etc., 1856, 
i. 26-198, passim^ and Brandl's " Life of Coleridge," 
1887, pp. 230-252. 


September 15, 1798. 

Mt very dear Poole, — We have arrived at Yar- 
mouth just in time to be hurried into the packet — and 
four or five letters of recommendation have been taken 
away from me, owing to their being wafered. Wedg- 
wood's luckily were not. 

I am at the point of leaving my native country for the 
first time — a country which God Almighty knows is dear 
to me above all things for the love I bear to you. Of 
many friends whom I love and esteem, my head and heart 
have ever chosen you as the friend — as the one being in 
whom is involved the full and whole meaning of that 
sacred title. God love you, my dear Poole ! and your 
faithful and most affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. We may be only two days, we may be a fort- 
night going. The same of the packet that returns. So do 
not let my poor Sara be alarmed if she do not hear from 
me. I will write alternately to you and her, twice every 
week during my absence. May God preserve us, and make 
us continue to be joy, and comfort, and wisdom, and vir- 
tue to each other, my dear, dear Poole ! 

1798] TO HIS WIFE 259 


Hamburg, September 19, 1198. 
Over what place does the moon hang to your eye, my 
dearest Sara ? To me it hangs over the left bank of the 
Elbe, and a long trembling road of moonlight reaches from 
thence up to the stern of our vessel, and there it ends. We 
have dropped anchor in the middle of the stream, thirty 
miles from Cuxhaven, where we arrived this morning at 
eleven o'clock, after an unusually fuie passage of only 
forty-eight hours. The Captain agreed to take all the 
passengers up to Hamburg for ten guineas ; my share 
amounted only to half a guinea. We shall be there, if no 
fogs intervene, to-morrow morning. Chester was ill the 
whole voyage ; Wordsworth shockingly ill ; his sister worst 
of all, and I neither sick nor giddy, but gay as a lark. 
The sea rolled rather high, but the motion was pleasant to 
me. The stink of a sea cabin in a packet (what with the 
bilge-water, and what from the crowd of sick passengers) 
is horrible. I remained chiefly on deck. We left Yar- 
mouth Sunday morning, September 16, at eleven o'clock. 
Chester and Wordsworth ill immediately. Our passen- 
gers were: | Wordsworth, * Chester, S. T. Coleridge, a 
Dane, second Dane, third Dane, a Prussian, a Hanove- 
rian and * his servant, a German tailor and his * wife, a 
French | emigrant and * French servant, * two English 
gentlemen, and J a Jew. All these with the prefix * were 
sick, those marked | horribly sick. The view of Yar- 
mouth from the sea is interesting ; besides, it was Eng- 
lish ground that was flying away from me. When we 
lost sight of land, the moment that we quite lost sight of 
it and the heavens all round me rested upon the waters, 
my dear babes came upon me like a flash of lightning ; I 
saw their faces ^ so distinctly ! This day enriched me with 

1 In a letter dated November 1, husband with the danger and the 
1798, Mrs. Coleridge acquaints her disfigurement from small-pox which 


characters, and I passed it merrily. Each of those char- 
acters I will delineate to you in my journal, which you and 
Poole alternately will receive regularly as soon as I arrive 
at any settled place, which will be in a week. Till then I 
can do little more than give you notice of my safety and 
my faithful affection to you (but the journal will com- 
mence from the day of my arrival at London, and give 
every day's occurrence, etc.). I have it written, but I 
have neither paper or time to transcribe it. I trust no- 
thing to memory. The Ocean is a noble thing by night ; 
a beautiful white cloud of foam at momentary intervals 
roars and rushes by the side of the vessel, and stars of 
flame dance and sparkle and go out in it, and every now 
and then light detachments of foam dart away from the 
vessel's side with their galaxies of stars and scour out of 
sight like a Tartar troop over a wilderness. What these 
stars are I cannot say ; the sailors say they are fish spawn, 
which is phosphorescent. The noisy passengers swear in 
all their languages, with drunken hiccups, that I shall 
write no more, and I must join them. Indeed, they pre- 
sent a rich feast for a dramatist. My kind love to Mrs. 
Poole (with what wings of swiftness would I fly home if 
I could find something in Germany to do her good !}. Ee- 
member me affectionately to Ward, and my love to the 
Chesters (Bessy, Susan, and Jidia) and to Cruickshank, 
etc., etc., Ellen and Mary when jou see them, and to 
Lavinia Poole and Harriet and Sophy, and be sure to give 
my kind love to Nanny. I associate so much of Hartley's 
infancy with her, so many of his figures, looks, words, and 
antics with her form, that I sliall never cease to think of 
her, poor girl ! without interest. Tell my best good friend, 
my dear Poole ! that all his manuscripts, with Words- 
worth's Tragedy, are safe in Josiah Wedgwood's hands ; 

had befallen her little Berkeley, faces of your children crossed you 

" The dear child," she writes, " is like a flash of lightning,' you saw 

getting strength every hour ; but that face for the last time." 
' when you lost sight of land, and the 

1798] TO HIS WIFE 261 

and they will be returned to him together. Good-night, 
my dear, dear Sara ! — " every night when I go to bed, 
and every morning when I rise," I will think with yearn- 
ing love of you and of my blessed babies ! Once more, 
my dear Sara ! good-night. 

Wednesday afternoon, four o'clock. — We are safe in 
Hamburg — an ugly city that stinks in every corner, 
house, and room worse than cabins, sea-sickness, or bilge- 
water ! The hotels are all crowded. With great diffi- 
culty we have procured a very filthy room at a large ex- 
pense ; but we shall move to-morrow. We get very excel- 
lent claret for a trifle — a guinea sells at present for more 
than twenty-three shillings here. But for all particulars 
I must refer your patience to my journal, and I must get 
some proper paper — I shall have to pay a shilling or 
eighteenpence with every letter. N. B. Johnson the 
bookseller, without any poems sold to him, but purely out 
of affection conceived for me, and as part of anything I 
might do for him, gave me an order on Remnant at Ham- 
burg for thirty pounds. The " Epea Pteroenta," an Essay 
on Population, and a " History of Paraguay," will come 
down for me directed to Poole, and for Poole's reading. 
Likewise I have desired Johnson to print in quarto ^ a little 
poem of mine, one of which quartos must be sent to my 
brother. Rev. G. C, Ottery St. Mary, carriage paid. Did 
you receive my letter directed in a different hand, with 
the 30Z. banknote ? The " Morning Post " and Magazine 
will come to you as before. If not regularly, Stuart de- 
sires that you will write to him. I pray you, my dear 
love ! read Edgeworth's " Essay on Education " — read it 
heart and soul, and if you approve of the mode, teach 
Hartley his letters. I am very desirous that you should 
teach him to read ; and they point out some easy modes. 

1 "Fears in Solitude, written in Coleridg-e. London: Printed for J. 

1798, during- the alarm of an invasion. Johnson, in St. Paul's Churchyard. 

To which are added, France, an Ode ; 1798." 
and Frost at Midnight. By S. T. 


J. Wedgwood informed me that the Edgeworths were 
most miserable when children ; and yet the father in his 
book is ever vapouring about their happiness. However, 
there are very good things in the work — and some non- 

Kiss my Hartley and Bercoo baby brodder (kiss them 
for their dear father, whose heart will never be absent 
from them many hours together). My dear Sara ! I think 
of you with affection and a desire to be home, and in the 
full and noblest sense of the word, and after the antique 
principles of Religion^ unsophisticated by Philosophy, will 
be, I trust, your husband faithful unto death, 


Wednesday night, eleven o'clock. — The sky and col- 
ours of the clouds are quite English, just as if I were com- 
ing out of T. Poole's homeward with you in my arm. 


[Ratzebtteg], October 20, 1798. 
. . . But I must check these feelings and write more col- 
lectedly. I am well, my dear Love ! very well, and my 
situation is in all respects comfortable. My room is large 
and healthy ; the house commands an enchanting prospect. 
The pastor is worthy and a learned man — a widower with 
eight children, five of whom are at home. The German 
language is spoken here in the utmost purity. The chil- 
dren often stand round my sofa and chatter away ; and 
the little one of all corrects my pronunciation with a pretty 
pert lisp and self-sufficient tone, while the others laugh 
with no little joyance. The Gentry and Nobility here pay 
me almost an adulatory attention. There is a very beauti- 
ful little woman — less, I think, than you — a Countess 
Kilmansig ; ^ her father is our Lord Howe's cousin. She 

1 According to Burke's Peerage, Howe, and father of the Admiral, 
Emanuel Scoope, second Viscount "Our Lord Howe," married, in 1719, 

1798] TO HIS WIFE 263 

is the wife of a very handsome man, and has two fine lit- 
tle children. I have quite won her heart by a German 
poem which I wrote. It is that sonnet, " Charles ! my 
slow heart was only sad when first," and considerably di- 
lated with new images, and much superior in the German 
to its former dress. It has excited no small wonder here 
for its purity and harmony. I mention this as a proof of 
my jDrogress in the language — indeed, it has surprised 
myself ; but I want to be home, and I work hard, very 
hard, to shorten the time of absence. The little Countess 
said to me, " Oh ! Englishmen be always sehr gut fathers 
and husbands. I hoj)e dat you will come and lofe my lit- 
tle babies, and I will sing to you and play on the guitar 
and the pianoforte ; and my dear huspan he sprachs sehr 
gut English, and he lofes England better than all the 
world." (Sehr gut is very good ; sprach, speaks or talks.) 
She is a sweet little woman, and, what is very rare in Ger- 
many, she has perfectly white, regular, French teeth. I 
could give you many instances of the ridiculous partiality, 
or rather madness, for the English. One of the first 
things which strikes an Englishman is the German cards. 
They are very different from ours ; the court cards have 
two heads, a very convenient thing, as it prevents the 
necessity of turning the cards and betraying your hand, 
and are smaller and cost only a penny ; yet the envelope 
in which they are sold has " Wahrlich Englische Karten," 
that is, genuine English cards. I bought some sticking- 
plaister yesterday ; it cost twopence a very large piece, 
but it was three-halfpence farthing too dear — for indeed 
it looked like a nasty rag of black silk which cat or mouse 

Mary Sophia, daughter of Baron Kiel- language, and that you are so gay 

mansegge, Master of the Horse to with the ladies. You may give my 

George I. Coleridge's countess must respects to them, and say that I am 

have been a great-granddaughter of not at all jealous, for I know my 

the baron. In her reply to this letter, dear Samuel in her affliction will 

dated December 13, 1798, Mrs. Cole- not forget entirely his most affec- 

ridge writes : " I am very proud to tionate wife, Sara Coleridge." 
hear that you are so forward in the 


dung liad stained and spotted — but this was " Konigl. Pat. 
Engl. Im. Pflaster," that is, Royal Patent English Orna- 
ment Plaister. They affect to write English over their 
doors. One house has " English Lodgement and Caffee 
Hous ! " But the most amusing of all is an advertisement 
of a quack medicine of the same class with Dr. Solomon's 
and Brody's, for the spirits and all weakness of mind and 
body. What, think you ? "A wonderful and secret 
Essence extracted with patience and God's blessing from 
the English Oaks, and from that part thereof which the 
heroic sailors of that Great Nation call the Heart of Oak. 
This invaluable and infallible Medicine has been godlily 
extracted therefrom by the slow processes of the Sun and 
magnetical Influences of the Planets and fixed Stars." 
This is a literal translation. At the concert, when I en- 
tered, the band played " Britannia rule the waves," and at 
the dinner which was given in honour of Nelson's victory, 
twenty-one guns were fired by order of the military Gov- 
ernor, and between each firing the military band played 
an English tune. I never saw such enthusiasm, or heard 
such tumultuous shouting, as when the Governor gave as 
a toast, " The Great Nation." By this name they always 
designate England, in opposition to the same title self- 
assumed by France. The military Governor is a pleas- 
ant man, and both he and the Amtmann (?*. e. the civil 
regent) are particularly attentive to me. I am quite do- 
mesticated in the house of the latter ; his first wife was an 
English woman, and his partiality for England is without 
bounds. God bless you, my Love ! Write me a very, 
very long letter ; write me all that can cheer me ; all that 
will make my eyes swim and my heart melt with tender- 
ness ! Your faithful and affectionate husband, 


P. S. A dinner lasts not uncommonly three hours ! 

1798] TO HIS WIFE 265 


Ratzebukg, November 26, 1798. 
Another and another and yet another post day ; and 
still Chester greets me with, " No letters from England ! " 
A knell, that strikes out regularly four times a week. 
How is this, my Love ? Why do you not write to me ? Do 
you think to shorten my absence by making it insupporta- 
ble to me ? Or perhaps you anticipate that if I received 
a letter I should idly turn away from my German to dream 
of you — of you and my beloved babies ! Oh, yes ! I 
should indeed dream of you for hours and hours ; of you, 
and of beloved Poole, and of the infant that sucks at your 
breast, and of my dear, dear Hartley. You would be 
presetit, you would be with me in the air that I breathe ; 
and I should cease to see you only when the tears rolled 
out of my eyes, and this naked, undomestic room became 
again visible. But oh, with what leaping and exhilarated 
faculties should I return to the objects and realities of my 
mission. But now — nay, I cannot describe to you the 
gloominess of thought, the burthen and sickness of heart, 
which I experience every post day. Through the whole 
remaining day I am incapable of everything but anxious 
imaginations, of sore and fretful feelings. The Hamburg 
newspapers arrive here four times a week ; and almost 
every newspaper commences with, " Schreihen aus Lon- 
don — They write from London." This day's, with 
schreiben aus London, vom November 13. But I am cer- 
tain that you have written more than once ; and I stum- 
ble about in dark and idle conjectures, how and by what 
means it can have happened that I have not received your 
letters. I recommence my journal, but with feelings that 
approach to disgust — for in very truth I have nothing 
interestino- to relate. 



December 2, 1798. 

Sunday Evening. — God, the Infinite, be praised that 
my babes are alive. His mercy will forgive me that late 
and all too slowly I raised up my heart in thanksgiving. 
At first and for a time I wept as passionately as if they 
had been dead; and for the whole day the weight was 
heavy upon me, relieved only by fits of weeping. I had 
long expected, I had passionately expected, a letter ; I re- 
ceived it, and my frame trembled. I saw your hand, and 
all feelings of mind and body crowded together. Had the 
news been cheerful and only " We are as you left us," I 
must have wept to have delivered myself of the stress and 
tumult of my animal sensibility. But when I read the 
danger and the agony — My dear Sara ! my love ! my wife ! 
— God bless you and preserve us. I am well ; but a stye, or 
something of that kind, has come upon and enormously 
swelled my eyelids, so that it is painful and improper for 
me to read or write. In a few days it wiU now disappear, 
and I will write at length (now it forces me to cease). To- 
morrow I will write a line or two on the other side of the 
page to Mr. Roskilly. 

I received your letter Friday, November 31. I cannot 
well account for the slowness. Oh, my babies ! Absence 
makes it painful to be a father. 

My life, believe and know that I pant to be home and 
with you. 


December 3. — My eyes are painful, but there is no 
doubt but they wiU be well in two or three days. I have 
taken physic, eat very little flesh, and drink only water, 
but it grieves me that I cannot read. I need not have 
troubled my poor eyes with a superfluous love to my dear 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 267 


Ratzeburg, Germany, December 3, 1798. 

My dear Sir, — There is an honest heart out of Great 
Britain that enters into your good fortune with a sin- 
cere and lively joy. May you enjoy life and health — 
aU. else you have, — a good wife, a good conscience, a good 
temper, sweet children, and competence ! The first glass 
of wine I drink shall be a bumper — not to you, no ! but 
to the Bishop of Gloucester ! God bless him ! 
Sincerely your friend, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


January 4, 1799 — Morning-, 11 o'clock. 

My friend, my dear friend ! Two hours have past since 
I received your letter. It was so frightfully long since I 
received one ! ! My body is weak and faint with the 
beating of my heart. But everything affects me more than 
it ought to do in a foreign country. I cried myself blind 
about Berkeley, when I ought to have been on my knees 
in the joy of thanksgiving. The waywardness of the 
pacquets is wonderful. On December the seventh Ches- 
ter received a letter from his sister dated November 27. 
Yours is dated November 22, and I received it only this 
morning. I am quite well, calm and industrious. I now 
read German as English, — that is, without any mental 
translation as I read. I likewise understand all that is 
said to me, and a good deal of what they say to each other. 

1 The " Rev. Mr. RoskiUy " had ley] left him [S. T. C] in London, 

been curate-in-charge of the parish and proceeded to Kempsford in 

of Nether Stowey, and the occasion Gloucestershire, the Rectory of Mr. 

of the letter was his promotion to the RoskiUy ; remained there a month. 

Rectory of Kempsford in Glouces- Papa was to have joined us there, 

tershire. Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, in a but did not." See Thomas Poole and 

late letter (probably 1843) to her his Friends, i. 25-27, and Letters 

sister, Mrs. Lovell, writes : " In from the Lake Poets, p. 6. 
March [1800] I and the child [Hart- 


On very trivial and on metaphysical subjects I can talk 
tolerably — so, so ! — but in that conversation, which is 
between both, I bungle most ridiculously. I owe it to my 
industry that I can read old German, and even the old 
low German, better than most of even the educated na- 
tives. It has greatly enlarged my knowledge of the Eng- 
lish language. It is a great bar to the amelioration of 
Germany, that through at least half of it, and that half 
composed almost wholly of Protestant States, from whence 
alone amelioration can proceed, the agi^iculturists and a 
great part of the artizans talk a language as different from 
the language of the higher classes (in which all books are 
written) as the Latin is from the Greek. The differences 
are greater than the affinities, and the affinities are dark- 
ened by the differences of pronunciation and spelling. I 
have written twice to Mr. Josiah Wedgwood,^ and in a 
few days will follow a most voluminous letter, or rather 
series of letters, which will comprise a history of the bauers 
or peasants collected, not so much from books as from oral 
communications from the Amtmann here — (an Amtmann 
is a sort of perpetual Lord Mayor, uniting in himself 
Judge and Justice of Peace over the bauers of a cer- 
tain district). I have enjo3^ed great advantages in this 
place, but I have paid dear for them. Including all 
expenses, I have not lived at less than two pounds a week. 
Wordsworth (from whom I receive long and affectionate 
letters) has enjoyed scarcely one advantage, but his ex- 
penses have been considerably less than they were in Eng- 
land. Here I shall stay till the last week in January, 
when I shall proceed to Gottingen, where, all expenses 
included, I can live for 15 shillings a week. For these 
last two months I have drunk nothing but water, and I 

1 In his letter of January 20, 1799, hand. A third letter, dated Gottin- 

Josiah Wedg-wood acknowledges the gen, May 21, 1799, was printed by 

receipt of a letter dated November Cottle in his Beminiscences, 1848, p. 

29, 1798, but adds that an earlier let- 425. 
ter from Hamburg had not come to 




eat but little animal food. At Gottingen I sliall hire lodg- 
ing for two months, buy my own cold beef at an eating- 
house, and dine in my chamber, which I can have at a dol- 
lar a week. And here at Gottingen I must endeavour to 
unite the advantages of advancing in German and doing 
something to repay myself. My dear Poole ! I am afraid 
that, supposing I return in the first week of May, my 
whole expenses ^ from Stowey to Stowey, including books 
and clothes, will not have been less than 90 2^ounds I and 
if I buy ten pounds' worth more of books it will have been 
a hundred. I despair not but with intense application and 
regular use of time, to which I have now almost accus- 
tomed myself, that by three months' residence at Gottingen 

^ Miss Meteyard, in her Group of 
Englishmen,1811, p. 99, gives extracts 
from the account-current of Messrs. 
P. and O. Von Axen, the Hamburg 
agents of the Wedgwoods. Accord- 
ing to her figures, Coleridge drew 
£125 from October 20 to March 29, 
1799, and, " conjointly -with Words- 
worth," £106 10s. on July 8, 1799. 
Mr. Dykes Campbell, in a footnote 
to his Memoir, p. xliv., combats Miss 
Meteyard's assertion that these sums 
were advanced by the Wedgwoods 
to Coleridge and Wordsworth, and 
argues that Wordsworth merely drew 
on the Von Axens for sums already 
paid in from his own resources. 
Coleridge, he thinks, had only his 
annuity to look to, but probably an- 
ticipated his income. In a MS. note- 
book of 1798-99, Coleridge inserted 
some concise but not very business- 
like entries as to expenditures and 
present resources, but says nothing 
as to receipts. 

" March 25th, being Easter Mon- 
day, Chester and S. T. C, in a 
damn'd dirty hole in the Burg Strasse 
at Gottingen, possessed at that mo- 

ment eleven Louis d'ors and two dol- 
lars. When the money is spent in 
common expenses S. T. Coleridge will 
owe Chester 5 pounds 12 shillings. 

" Note. — From. September 8 to 
April 8 I shall have spent £90, of 
which £15 was in Books; and 
Cloathes, mending and making, £10. 

" May 10. We have 17 Louis d'or, 
of which, as far as I can at present 
calculate, 10 belong to Chester." 

The most probable conclusion is 
that both Coleridge and Chester were 
fairly well supplied with money 
when they left England, and that 
the £178 10s. which Coleridge re- 
ceived from the Von Axens covered 
some portion of Chester's expenses 
in addition to his own. I may add 
that a recent collation of the auto- 
graph letter of Coleridge to Josiah 
Wedgwood dated May 21, 1799, Got- 
tingen, with the published version 
in Cottle's Eeminiscences, pp. 425- 
429, fully bears out Mr. Campbell's 
contention, that though Coleridge 
anticipated his annuity, he was not 
the recipient of large sums over and 
above what was guaranteed to him. 


I shall liave on paper at least all the materials if not the 
whole structure of a work that will repay me. The work 
I have planned, and I have imperiously excluded all 
waverings about other works. That is the disease of my 
mind — it is comprehensive in its conceptions, and wastes 
itself in the contemplations of the many things which it 
might do. I am aware of the disease, and for the next 
three months (if I cannot cure it) I will at least suspend 
its operation. This book is a life of Lessing, and inter- 
weaved with it a true state of German literature in its rise 
and present state. I have already written a little life from 
three different biographies, divided it into years, and at 
Gottingen I will read his works regularly according to the 
years in which they were written, and the controversies, 
religious and literary, which they occasioned. But of this 
say nothing to any one. The journey to Germany has cer- 
tainly done me good. My habits are less irregular and 
my mind more in my own power. But I have much still 
to do ! I did, indeed, receive great joy from Roskilly's 
good fortune, and in a little note to my dear Sara I joined 
a note of congratulation to Roskilly. O Poole ! you are a 
noble heart as ever God made ! Poor ! he is pass- 
ing through a fiery discipline, and I would fain believe 
that it will end in his peace and utility. Wordsworth is 
divided in his mind, — unquietly divided between the 
neighbourhood of Stowey and the North of England. He 
cannot think of settling at a distance from me, and I have 
told him that I cannot leave the vicinity of Stowey. His 
chief objection to Stowey is the want of books. The Bris- 
tol Library is a hum, and will do us little service ; and he 
thinks that he can procure a house near Sir Gilford Law- 
son's by the Lakes, and have free access to his immense 
library. I think it better once in a year to walk to Cam- 
bridge, in the summer vacation — perhaps I may be able 
to get rooms for nothing, and there for a couple of months 
read like a Turk on a given plan, and return home with a 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 271 

mass of materials whicli, with dear, independent Poetry, 
will fully employ the remaining year. But this is idle 
prating about a future. But indeed, it is time to be look- 
ing out for a house for me — it is not possible I can be 
either comfortable or useful in so small a house as that in 
Lime Street. If Woodlands can be gotten at a reason- 
able price, I would have it. I will now finish my long- 
neglected journal. 

Sara, I suppose, is at Bristol — on Monday I shall write 
to her. The frost here has been uncommonly severe. 
For two days it was 20 degrees under the freezing point. 
Wordsworth has left Goslar, and is on his road into higher 
Saxony to cruise for a pleasanter place ; he has made but 
little progress in the language. I am interrupted, and if 
I do not conclude shall lose the post. Give my kind love 
to your dear mother. Oh, that I could but find her com- 
fortable on my return. To Ward remember me affection- 
ately — likewise remember to James Cole ; and my grate- 
ful remembrances to Mrs. Cole for her kindness during 
my wife's domestic troubles. To Harriet, Sophia, and 
Lavinia Poole — to the Chesters — to Mary and Ellen 
Cruickshank — in short, to all to whom it will give pleas- 
ure remember me affectionately. 

My dear, dear Poole, God bless us ! 


p. S. The Amtmann, who is almost an Englishman 
and an idolizer of our nation, desires to be kindly remem- 
bered to you. He told me yesterday that he had dreamt 
of you the night before. 


Ratzeburg, Monday, January 14, 1799. 
Mt dearest Love, — Since the wind changed, and it 
became possible for me to have letters, I lost all my tran- 
quillity. Last evening I was absent in company, and when 


I returned to solitude, restless in every fibre, a novel which 
I attempted to read seemed to interest me so extravagantly 
that I threw it down, and when it was out of my hands I 
knew nothing of what I had been reading. This morning 
I awoke long before light, feverish and unquiet. I was 
certain in my mind that I should have a letter from you, 
but before it arrived my restlessness and the irregular pul- 
sation of my heart had quite wearied me down, and I held 
the letter in my hand like as if I was stupid, without at- 
tempting to open it. " Why don't you read the letter ? " 
said Chester, and I read it. Ah, little Berkeley — I have 
misgivings, but my duty is rather to comfort you, my dear, 
dear Sara ! I am so exhausted that I could sleep. I am 
well, but my spirits have left me. I am completely home- 
sick. I must walk half an hour, for my mind is too scat- 
tered to continue writing. I entreat and entreat you, 
Sara ! take care of yourself. If you are well, I think I 
could frame my thoughts so that I should not sink under 
other losses. You do right in writing me the truth. Poole 
is kind, but you do right, my dear ! In a sense of reality 
there is always comfort. The workings of one's imagina- 
tion ever go beyond the worst that nature afflicts us ^ith ; 
they have the terror of a superstitious circumstance. I 
express myself unintelligibly. Enough that you ^Tite me 
always the whole truth. Direct your next letter thus : 
An den Herrn Coleridge, a la Poste Restante, Gottingen, 
Germany. If God permit I shall be there before this day 
three weeks, and I hope on May-day to be once more at 
Stowey. My motives for going to Gottingen I have wint- 
ten to Poole. I hear as often frojn Wordsworth as letters 
can go backward and forward in a country where fifty 
miles in a day and night is expeditious travelling ! He 
seems to have employed more time in writing English than 
in studying German. No wonder ! for he might as well 
have been in England as at Goslar, in the situation which 
he chose and with his unseeking manners. He has now left 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 273 

it, and is on his journey to Nordliausen. His taking his 
sister with him was a wrong step ; it is next but impossi- 
ble for any but married women, or in the suit of married 
women, to be introduced to any company in Germany. Sis- 
ter here is considered as only a name for mistress. Still, 
however, male acquaintance he might have had, and had I 
been at Goslar I would have had them ; but W., God love 
him ! seems to have lost his spirits and almost his inclina- 
tion for it. In the mean time his expenses have been al- 
most less than they [woidd have been] in England ; mine 
have been very great, but I do not despair of returning to 
England with somewhat to pay the whole. O God ! 1 do 
languish to be at home. 

I will endeavour to give you some idea of Ratzeburg, 
but I am a wretched describer. First you must imagine 
a lake, running from south to north about nine miles in 
length, and of very various breadths — the broadest part 
may be, perhaps, two or three miles, the narrowest scarce 
more than half a mile. About a mile from the southern- 
most point of the lake, that is, from the beginning of the 
lake, is the island-town of Ratzeburg. 

^^—^j^4^ — — -\ 

• is Ratzeburg ; IL-J is our house on the hill ; from the 
bottom of the hill there lies on the lake a slip of land, 
scarcely two stone-throws wide, at the end of which is a 
little bridge with a superb military •«> ■yj y/v 
gate, and this bridge joins Ratze- L '^^/^ /L^, 
burg to the slip of land — you pass ff y2^ j9j^, J^ - 
through Ratzeburg up a little hill, 

and down the hill, and this brings you to another bridge, 
narrow, but of an immense length, which communicates 
with the other shore. 


The water to the south of Ratzeburg is called the little 
lake and the other the large lake, though they are but one 
piece of ' water. This little lake is very beautiful, the 
shores just often enough green and bare to give the proper 
effect to the magnificent groves which mostly fringe them. 
The views vary almost every ten steps, such and so beau- 
tiful arc the turnings and windings of the shore — they 
unite beauty and magnitude, and can be but expressed by 
feminine grandeur ! At the north of the great lake, and 
peering over, you see the seven church-towers of Lubec, 
which is twelve or fourteen miles from Ratzeburg. Yet 
you see them as distinctly as if they were not three miles 
from you. The worse thing is that Ratzeburg is built en- 
tirely of bricks and tiles, and is therefore all red — a clrmip 
of brick-dust red — it gives you a strong idea of perfect 
neatness, but it is not beautiful.^ In the beginning or 
middle of October, I forget which, we went to Lubec in 
a boat. For about two miles the shores of the lake are 
exquisitely beautiful, the woods now running into the 
water, now retiring in all angles. After this the left 
shore retreats, — the lake acquires its utmost breadth, 
and ceases to be beautiful. At the end of the lake is 
the river, about as large as the river at Bristol, but 
winding in infinite serpentines through a dead flat, with 
willows and reeds, till you reach Lubec, an old fantastic 
town. We visited the churches at Lubec — they were 
crowded with gaudy gilded figures, and a profusion of 
pictures, among which were always the portraits of the 
popular pastors who had served the church. The pas- 
tors here wear white ruffs exactly like the pictures of 
Queen Elizabeth. There were in the Lubec churches 
a very large attendance, but almost all women. The 
genteeler people dressed precisely as the English ; but 

^ A portion of this description of lished in No. 10 of The Friend, De- 
Ratzeburg- is included in No. III. cember 21, 1809. 
of Satyrane' s Letters, originally pub- 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 275 

behind every lady sat lier maid, — the caps with gold 
and silver combs. Altogether, a Lubec church is an 
amusing sight. In the evening I wished myself a painter, 
just to draw a German Party at cards. One man's long 
pipe rested on the table, by the fish-dish ; another who 
was shuffling, and of course had both hands employed, 
held his pipe in his teeth, and it hung down between 
his thighs even to his ankles, and the distortion which 
the attitude and effort occasioned made him a most 
ludicrous phiz. . . . [If it] had been possible I would 
have loitered a week in those churches, and found inces- 
sant amusement. Every picture, every legend cut out in 
gilded wood- work, was a history of the manners and feel- 
ings of the ages in which such works were admired and 

As the sun both rises and sets over the little lake by 
us, both rising and setting present most lovely specta- 
cles.^ In October Ratzeburg used at sunset to appear 
completely beautiful. A deep red light spread over all, 
in complete harmony with the red town, the brown-red 
woods, and the yellow-red reeds on the skirts of the lake 
and on the slip of land. A few boats, paddled by single 
persons, used generally to be floating up and down in the 
rich lis-ht. But when first the ice fell on the lake, and the 
whole lake was frozen one large piece of thick transparent 
glass — O my God ! what sublime scenery I have beheld. 
Of a morning I have seen the little lake covered with mist ; 
when the sun peeped over the hills the mist broke in the 
middle, and at last stood as the waters of the Eed Sea are 
said to have done when the Israelites passed ; and between 
these two walls of mist the sunlight burst upon the ice in 
a straight road of golden fire, aU across the lake, intolera- 
bly bright, and the walls of mist partaking of the light in 

1 The following description of the The Friend, December 28, 1809, aa 
frozen lake was thrown into a literary "Christmas Indoors in North Ger- 
shape and published in No. 19 of many." 


a multitude of colours. About a month ago the vehe- 
mence of the wind had shattered the ice ; part of it, quite 
shattei-ed, was driven to shore and had frozen anew ; this 
was of a deep bhie, and represented an agitated sea — the 
water that ran up between the great islands of ice shone of 
a yellow-green (it was at sunset), and all the scattered 
islands of sinooth ice were blood, intensely bright hlood ; 
on some of the largest islands the fishermen were pulling 
out their immense nets through the holes made in the ice 
for this purpose, and the fishermen, the net-poles, and the 
huge nets. made a part of the glory! O my God ! how I 
wished you to be with me ! In skating there are three 
pleasing circumstances — firstly, the infinitely subtle par- 
ticles of ice which the skate cuts up, and which creep and 
run before the skater like a low mist, and in sunrise or 
sunset become coloured ; second, the shadow of the skater 
in the water seen through the transparent ice ; and thirdly, 
the melancholy undulating sound from the skate, not with- 
out variety ; and, when very many are skating together, 
the sounds give an impulse to the icy trees, and the woods 
all round the lake tlnlde. It is a pleasant amusement to 
sit in an ice stool (as they are called) and be driven along 
by two skaters, faster than most horses can gaUop. As 
to the customs here, they are nearly the same as in Eng- 
land, except that [the men] never sit after dinner [and 
only] drink at dinner, which often lasts three or four hours, 
and in noble families is divided into three gangs, that is, 
walks. When you have sat about an hour, you rise up, 
each lady takes a gentleman's arm, and you walk about 
for a quarter of an hour — in the mean time another coui'se 
is put ui)on the table ; and, this in great dinners, is re- 
peated three times. A man here seldom sees his wife till 
dinner, — they take their coffee in separate rooms, and 
never eat at breakfast ; only as soon as they are up they 
take their coffee, and about eleven o'clock eat a bit of bread 
and butter with the coffee. The men at least take a pipe. 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 277 

Indeed, a pipe at breakfast is a great addition to the com- 
fort of life. I shall [smoke at] no other time in England. 
Here I smoke four times a day — 1 at breakfast, 1 half an 
hour before dinnei-, 1 in the afternoon at tea, and 1 just 
before bed-time — but I shall give it all up, unless, as be- 
fore observed, you should happen to like the smoke of a 
pipe at breakfast. Once when I first came here I smoked 
a pipe immediately after dinner ; the pastor expressed his 
surprise : I expressed mine that he could smoke before 
breakfast. " O Herr Gott ! " (that is. Lord God) quoth 
he, " it is delightful ; it invigorates the frame and it clears 
out the mouth so." A common amusement at the German 
Universities is for a number of young men to smoke out a 
candle ! that is, to fill a room with tobacco smoke till the 
candle goes out. Pipes are quite the rage — a pipe of a 
particular kind, that has been smoked for a year or so, 
will sell here for twenty guineas — the same pipe when 
new costs four or five. They are called Meerschaum. 
God bless you, my dear Love ! I will soon write again. 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Postscript. Perhaps you are in Bristol. However, I 
had better direct it to Stowey. My love to Martha and 
your mother and your other sisters. Once more, my dear- 
est Love, God love and preserve us through this long 
absence ! O my dear Babies ! my Babies ! 


Bei deni Radermacher Gohring, in der Bergstrasse, Gottingen, 
March 12, 1799. Sunday Night. 

My dearest Love, — It has been a frightfully long 
time since we have heard from each other. I have not 
written, simply because my letters could have gone no 
further than Cuxhaven, and would have stayed there to 
the [no] small hazard of their being lost. Even now the 
mouth of the Elbe is so much choked with ice that the 


English Pacquets cannot set off. Why need I say how 
anxious this long interval of silence has made me ! I have 
thought and thought of you, and pictured you and the 
little ones so often and so often that my imagination is 
tired down, flat and powerless, and I languish after home 
for hours together in vacancy, my feelings almost wholly 
unqualified by tJtoughts. I have at times experienced such 
an extinction of light in my mind — I have been so for- 
saken by all the forms and colourings of existence, as if 
the organs of life had been dried up ; as if only simply 
Being remained, blind and stagnant. After I have re- 
covered from this strange state and reflected uj)on it, I 
have thought of a man who should lose his comj)anion in 
a desart of sand, where his weary Halloos drop down 
in the air without an echo. I am deej^ly convinced that if 
I were to remain a few years among objects for whom I 
had no affection I should wholly lose the powers of intel- 
lect. Love is the vital air of my genius, and I have not 
seen one human being in Germany whom I can conceive 
it possible for me to love^ no, not one ; in my mind they 
are an unlovely race, these Germans. 

We left Hatzeburg, Feb. 6, in the Stage Coach. Tliis 
was not the coldest night of the century, because the 
night following was two degrees colder — the oldest man 
living remembers not such a night as Thursday, Feb. 7. 
This whole winter I have heard incessant complaints of 
the unusual cold, but I have felt very little of it. Bvit 
that night I My God ! Now I know what the pain of 
cold is, and what the danger. The pious care of the 
German Governments tliat none of their loving subjects 
should be suffocated is admirable ! On Friday morning 
when the light dawned, the Coach looked like a shapeless 
idol of suspicion with an hundred eyes, for there were at 
least so many holes in it. And as to rapidity ! We left 
Katzeburg at 7 o'clock Wednesday evening, and arrived 
at Liineburff — i. e., 35 Ensflish miles — at 3 o'clock on 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 279 

Thursday afternoon. This is a fair specimen ! In Eng- 
land I used to laugh at the " flying waggons ; " but, com- 
pared with a German Post Coach, the metaphor is per- 
fectly justifiable, and for the future I shall never meet a 
flying waggon without thinking respectfully of its speed. 
The whole country from Ratzeburg almost to Einbeck — 
i. e., 155 English miles — is a flat, objectless, hungry 
heath, bearing no marks of cultivation, except close by 
the towns, and the only remarks which suggested them- 
selves to me were that it was cold — very cold — shock- 
ing cold — never felt it so cold in my life ! Hanover is 
115 miles from Ratzeburg. We arrived there Saturday 

The Herr von Doring, a nobleman who resides at Ratze- 
burg, gave me letters to his brother-in-law at Hanover, and 
by the manner in which he received me I found that they 
were not ordinary letters of recommendation. He pressed 
me exceedingly to stay a week in Hanover, but I refused, 
and left it on Monday noon. In the mean time, however, 
he had introduced me to all the great people and presented 
me " as an English gentleman of first-rate character and 
talents " to Baron Steinburg, the Minister of State, and 
to Von Brandes, the Secretary of State and Governor of 
Gottingen University. The first was amazingly perpen- 
dicular, but civil and polite, and gave me letters to Heyne, 
the head Librarian, and, in truth, the real Governor of 
Gottingen. Brandes likewise gave me letters to Heyne 
and Blumenbach, who are his brothers-in-law. Baron 
Steinburg offered to present me to the Prince (Adolphus), 
who is now in Hanover ; but I deferred the honour till my 
return. I shall make Poole laugh when I return with the 
visiting-card which the Baron left at my inn. 

The two things worth seeing in Hanover are (1) the 
conduit representing Mount Parnassus, with statues of 
Apollo, the Muses, and a great many others ; flying 
horses, rhinoceroses, and elephants, etc. ; and (2) a bust 


of Leibnitz — the first for its excessive absurdity, ugli- 
ness, and indecency — (absolutely I could write the most 
humorous octavo volume containing the description of it 
with a commentary) — the second — i. e. the bust of 
Leibnitz — impressed on my soul a sensation which has 
ennobled it. It is the face of a god ! and Leibnitz was 
almost more than a man in the wonderful capaciousness of 
his judgment and imagination ! Well, we left Hanover 
on Monday noon, after having paid a most extravagant 
bill. We lived with S23artan frugality, and paid with 
Persian pomp ! But I was an Englishman, and visited 
by half a dozen noblemen and the Minister of State. The 
landlord could not dream of affronting me by anything 
like a reasonable charge ! On the road we stopped with 
the postillion always, and our expenses were nothing. 
Chester and I made a very hearty dinner of cold beef, 
etc., and both together paid only fourpence, and for coffee 
and biscuits only threepence each. Li short, a man may 
travel cheap in Germany, but he must avoid great towns 
and not be visited by Ministers of State. 

In a village some four miles from Einbeek we stopped 
about 4 o'clock in the morning. It was pitch dark, and 
the postillion led us into a room where there was not a 
ray of light — we could not see our hand — but it felt ex- 
tremely warm. At length and suddenly the lamp came, 
and we saw ourselves in a room thirteen strides in length, 
strew'd with straw, and lying by the side of each other 
on the straw twelve Jews. I assure you it was curious. 
Their dogs lay at their feet. There was one very beauti- 
ful boy among them, fast asleep, with the softest conceiv- 
able opening of the mouth, with the white beard of his 
grandfather upon his cheek — a fair, rosy cheek. 

This day I called with my letters on the Professor 
Ileyne, a little, hopping, over-civil sort of a thing, who 
talks very fast and with fragments of coughing between 
every ten words. However, he behaved very courteously 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 281 

to me. The next day I took out my matricula, and com- 
menced student of the University of Gottiugen. Heyne 
has honoured me so far that he has given me the right, 
which jjroperly only professors have, of sending to the 
Library for an indefinite number of books in my own 

On Saturday evening I went to the concert. Here the 
other Englishmen introduced themselves. After the con- 
cert Hamilton, a Cambridge man, took me as his guest to 
the Saturday Club, where what is called the first class of 
students meet and sup once a week. Here were all the 
nobility and three Englishmen. Such an evening I never 
passed before — roaring, kissing, embracing, fighting, 
smashing bottles and glasses against the wall, singing — 
in short, such a scene of uproar I never witnessed before, 
no, not even at Cambridge. I drank nothing, but all ex- 
cept two of the Englishmen were drunk, and the party 
broke up a little after one o'clock in the morning. I 
thought of what I had been at Cambridge and of what I 
was, of the wild bacchanalian sympathy with which I had 
formerly joined similar parties, and of my total inability 
now to do aught but meditate, and the feeling of the deep 
alteration in my moral being gave the scene a melancholy 
interest to me. 

We are quite well. Chester will write soon to his 
family ; in the mean time he sends duty, love, and remem- 
brance to all to whom they are due. I have drunk no 
wine or fermented liquor for more than three months, in 
consequence of which I am apt to be wakeful ; but then I 
never feel any oppression after dinner, and my spirits are 
much more equable, blessings which I esteem inestimable ! 
My dear Hartley — ■ my Berkeley — how intensely do I 
long for you ! My Sara, O my dear Sara ! To Poole, 
God bless him ! to dear Mrs. Poole and Ward, kindest 
love, and to all love and remembrance. 

S. T. Coleridge. 



AprH 6, 1^99. 

My dearest Poole, — Your two letters, dated Janu- 
ary 24 and March 15,^ followed close on each other. I 
was still enjoying " the livelier impulse and the dance of 
thought" which the first had given me when I received 
the second. At the time, in which I read Sara's lively 
account of the miseries which herself and the infant had 
undergone, all was over and well — there was nothing to 
thinh of — only a mass of pain was brought suddenly and 
closely within the sphere of my perception, and I was 
made to suffer it over again. For this bodily frame is an 
imitative thing, and touched by the imagination gives the 
hour which is past as f aithfidly as a repeating watch. But 
Death — the death of an infant — of one's own infant ! I 
read your letter in calmness, and walked out into the open 
fields, oppressed, not by my feelings, but by the riddles 
which the thought so easily proposes, and solves — never ! 

1 A letter from Mrs. Coleridge to Samuel, it is a sufFering- beyond yoTir 
her husband, dated March 25, 1799, conception I You -will feel and la- 
followed Poole's letter of March 15. ment the death of your child, but 
{Thomas Poole and his Friends, i. you will only recollect him a baby 
290.) She writes : — of fourteen weeks, but I am his 

" My dearest Love, — I hope mother and have carried him in my 

yoa will not attribute my long si- arms aud have fed him at my bosom, 

lence to want of affection. If you and have watched over him by day 

have received Mr. Poole's letter you and by night for nine months. I 

■will know the reason and acquit me. have seen him twice at the brink of 

My darling infant left his \\Tetched the grave, but he has returned and 

mother on the 10th of February, recovered and smiled upon me like 

and though the leisure tliat followed an angel, — and now I am lamenting 

was intolerable to me, yet I could that he is gone ! " 

not employ myself in reading or In her old age, when her daughter 

writing, or in any way that pre- was collecting materials for a life of 

vented my thoughts from resting on her father, Mrs. Coleridge wrote on 

him. This parting was the severest the back of the letter : — 

trial that I have ever yet under- " No secrets herein. I will not 

gone, and I pray to God that I may burn it for the sake of my sweet 

never live to behold the death of Berkeley." 
another child. For, O my dear 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 283 

A parent — in the strict and exclusive sense a parent ! — 
to me it is 2^, fable wholly without meaning except in the 
moral which it suggests — a fable of which the moral is 
God. Be it so — my dear, dear friend ! Oh let it be so ! 
La Nature (says Pascal) " La Nature confond les Pyr- 
rhoniens, et la Raison confond les Dogmatistes. Nous 
avons une impuissance a prouver invincible a tout le Dog- 
matisme. Nous avons une idee de la verite invincible 
a tout le Pyrrhonisme." I find it wise and human to 
believe, even on slight evidence, opinions, the contrary of 
which cannot be proved, and which promote our happiness 
without hampering our intellect. My baby has not lived 
in vain — this life has been to him what it is to all of us 
— education and development ! Fling yourself forward 
into your immortality only a few thousand years, and how 
small will not the difference between one year old and 
sixty years appear ! Consciousness ! — it is no otherwise 
necessary to our conceptions of future continuance than as 
connecting the present link of our being with the one im- 
mediately preceding it ; and that degree of consciousness, 
that small portion of memory, it would not only be arro- 
gant, but in the highest degree absurd, to deny even to a 
much younger infant. 'T is a strange assertion that the 
essence of identity lies in recollective consciousness. 
'Twere scarcely less ridiculous to affirm that the eight 
miles from Stowey to Bridgwater consist in the eight mile- 
stones. Death in a doting old age falls upon my feelings 
ever as a more hopeless phenomenon than death in infancy ; 
but nothing is hopeless. What if the vital force which I 
sent from my arm into the stone as I flung it in the air 
and skimmed it upon the water — what if even that did 
not perish ! It was life 1 — it was a particle of heing ! — 
it was power ! and how could it perish ? Life, Poiuer, 
Being ! Organization may and probably is their ejfect — 
their cause it cannot be ! I have indulged very curious 
fancies concerning that force, that swarm of motive powers 


whicli I sent out of my body into that stone, and whicli, 
one by one, left the untractable or already possessed mass, 
and — but the German Ocean lies between us. It is all 
too far to send you such fancies as these ! Grief, in- 
deed, — 

Doth love to dally with fantastic thoughts, 
And smiling like a sickly Moralist, 
Finds some resemblance to her own concern 
In the straws of chance, and things inanimate.^ 

But I cannot truly say that I grieve — I am perplexed 
— I am sad — and a little thing — a very trifle — would 
make me weep — but for the death of the baby I have 
not wej)t ! Oh this strange, strange, strange scene-shifter 
Death ! — that giddies one with insecurity and so unsub- 
stantiates the living things that one has grasped and han- 
dled ! Some months ago Wordsworth transmitted me a 
most sublime epitaph. Whether it had any reality I can- 
not say. Most probably, in some gloomier moment he had 
fancied the moment in which his sister might die. 


A slumber did my spirit seal, 

I had no human fears ; 

She seemed a thiag- that could not feel 

The touch of earthly years. 

No motion has she now, no force, 

She neither hears nor sees : 

Mov'd round in Earth's diurnal course 

With rocks, and stones, and trees ! 


GdTTiNGBN, in der Wondestrasse, April 8, 1799. 

It is one of the discomforts of my absence, my dearest 
Love ! that we feel the same calamities at different times — 
I would fain write words of consolation to you ; yet I 
know that I shall only fan into new activity the pang 
which was growing dead and dull in your heart. Dear 

1 From " Osorio," Act V. Sc. 1. Poetical Works, p. 506. 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 285 

little Being ! lie had existed to me for so many months 
only in dreams and reveries, but in them existed and still 
exists so livelily, so like a real thing-, that although I know 
of his death, yet when I am alone and have been long 
silent, it seems to me as if I did not understand it. Me- 
thinks there is something awful in the thought, what an 
unknown being one's own infant is to one — a fit of 
sound — a flash of light — a summer gust that is as it were 
created in the bosom of the calm air, that rises up we 
know not how, and goes we know not whither ! But we 
say well ; it goes ! it is gone ! and only in states of society 
in which the revealing voice of our most inward and 
abiding nature is no longer listened to (when we sport 
and juggle with abstract phrases, instead of representing 
our feelings and ideas), only then we say it ceases! I 
will not believe that it ceases — in this moving, stirring, 
and harmonious universe — I cannot believe it ! Can 
cold and darkness come from the sun ? where the sun is 
not, there is cold and darkness ! But the living God is 
everywhere, and works everywhere — and where is there 
room for death? To look back on the life of my baby, 
how short it seems ! but consider it referently to non- 
existence, and what a manifold and majestic Thing does 
it not become ? What a nudtitude of admirable actions, 
what a multitude of liahits of actions it learnt even before 
it saw the light ! and who shall count or conceive the 
infinity of its thoughts and feelings, its hopes, and fears, 
and joys, and pains, and desires, and presentiments, from 
the moment of its birth to the moment when the glass, 
through which we saw him darkly, was broken — and he 
became suddenly invisible to us ? Out of the Mount that 
might not be touched, and that burnt with fire, out of 
darkness, and blackness, and tempest, and with his own 
Voice, which they who heard entreated that they might 
not hear it again, the most high God forbade us to use his 
na-me vainly. And shall we who are Christians, shall we 


believe that lie himself uses his own power vainly ? That 
like a child he builds palaces of mud and clay in the 
common road, and then he destroys them, as weary of his 
pastime, or leaves them to be trod under by the hoof of 
Accident ? That God works by general laws are to me 
words without meaning or worse than meaningless — 
ignorance, and imbecility, and limitation must wish in 
generals. What and who are these horrible shadows 
necessity and general law, to which God himself must 
offer sacrifices — hecatombs of sacrifices ? I feel a deep 
conviction that these shadows exist not — they are only the 
dreams of reasoning pride, that would fain find solutions 
for all difficulties without faith — that would make the 
discoveries which lie thick sown in the path of the eternal 
Future unnecessary ; and so conceiting that there is suffi- 
ciency and completeness in the narrow present, weakens 
the presentiment of our wide and ever widening immor- 
tality. God works in each for all — most true — but 
more comprehensively true is it, that he works in all for 
each. I confess that the more I think, the more I am dis- 
contented with the doctrines of Priestley. He builds the 
whole and sole hope of future existence on the words and 
miracles of Jesus — yet doubts or denies the future exist- 
ence of infants — only because according to his own sys- 
tem of materialism he has not discovered how they can be 
made conscious. But Jesus has declared that all who 
are in the grave shall arise — and that those who should 
arise to perce2)tible progression must be ever as the infant 
which He held in his arms and blessed. And although 
the Man Jesus had never appeared in the world, yet I am 
Quaker enough to believe, that in the heart of every man 
the Christ would have revealed himself, the Power of the 
Word, that was even in the wilderness. To me who am 
absent this faith is a real consolation, — and the few, the 
slow, the quiet tears which I shed, are the accompani- 
ments of high and solemn thought, not the workings of 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 287 

pain or sorrow. When I return indeed, and see the 
vacancy that has been made — when nowhere anything 
corresponds to the form which will perhaps for ever dwell 
on my mind, then it is possible that a keener pang will 
come upon me. Yet I trust, my love ! I trust, my dear 
Sara ! that this event which has forced us to think of the 
death of what is most dear to us, as at all times probable, 
will in many and various ways be good for us. To have 
shared — nay, I should say — to have divided with any 
human being any one deep sensation of joy or of sorrow, 
sinks deep the foundations of a lasting love. When in 
moments of fretfulness and imbecility I am disposed to 
anger or reproach, it will, I trust, be always a restoring 
thought — " We have wept over the same little one," — 
and with whom I am angry? With her who so patiently 
and unweariedly sustained my poor and sickly infant 
through his long pains — with her, who, if I too should 
be called away, would stay in the deep anguish over my 
death-pillow ! who would never forget me ! " Ah, my 
poor Berkeley ! A few weeks ago an Englishman desired 
me to write an epitaph on an infant who had died before 
its christening. While I wrote it, my heart with a deep 
misgiving turned my thoughts homewards. 


Be rather than be calVd a Child of God ! 

Death whisper'd. With assenting Nod 

Its head upon the Mother's breast 

The baby bow'd, and went without demur, 

Of the kingdom of the blest 

Possessor, not Inheritor. 

It refers to the second question in the Church Catechism. 
We are well, my dear Sara. I hope to be home at the 
end of ten or eleven weeks. If you should be in Bristol, 
you will probably be shewn by Mr. Estlin three letters 
which I have written to him altogether — and one to 


Mr. Wade. Mr. Estlin will permit you to take the let- 
ters to Stowey that Poole may see them, and Poole will 
return them. I have no doubt but I shall repay myself 
by the work which I am writing, to such an amount, that 
I shall have spent out of my income only fifty pounds at 
the end of August. My love to your sisters — and love 
and duty to your mother. God bless you, my love ! and 
shield us from deeper afflictions, or make us resigned unto 
them (and perhaps the latter blessedness is greater than 
the former). 

Your affectionate and faithful husband, 

S, T. Coleridge. 


April 23, 1799. 
Mt DEAR Sara, — Surely it is unnecessary for me to 
say how infinitely I languish to be in my native country, 
and with how many struggles I have remained even so 
long in Germany ! I received your affecting letter, dated 
Easter Sunday ; and, had I followed my impulses, I should 
have packed up and gone with Wordsworth and his sister, 
who passed through (and only passed through) this place 
two or three days ago. If they burn with such impatience 
to return to their native country, they who are all to each 
other, what must I feel with everjiihing pleasant and 
everything valuable and everything dear to me at a dis- 
tance — here, where I may tndy say my only amusement 
is — to labour ! But it is, in the strictest sense of the 
word, impossible to collect what I have to collect in less 
than six weeks from this day ; yet I read and transcribe 
from eight to ten hours every day. Nothing could sup- 
port me but the knowledge that if I return now we shall 
be embarrassed and in debt ; and the moral certainty that 
having done what I am doing we shall be more than 
cleared — not to add that so large a work with so great a 
quantity and variety of information from sources so scat- 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 289 

tered and so little known, even in Germany, will of course 
establish my character for industry and erudition cer- 
tainly ; and, I would fain hope, for reflection and genius. 
This day in June I hope and trust that I shall be in Eng- 
land. Oh that the vessel could but land at Shurton Bars ! 
Not that I should wish to see you and Poole immediately 
on my landing. No ! — the sight, the touch of my native 
country, were sufficient for one whole feeling, the most 
deep unmingled emotion — but then and after a lonely walk 
of three miles — then, first of a//, whom I knew, to see 
you and my Friend 1 It lessens the delight of the thought 
of my return that I must get at you through a tribe of 
acquaintances^ damping the freshness of one's joy ! My 
poor little baby! At this time I see the corner of the 
room where his cradle stood — and his cradle too — and 
I cannot help seeing him in the cradle. Little lamb ! 
and the snow would not melt on his limbs ! I have some 
faint recollections that he had that difficulty of breathing 
once before I left England — or was it Hartley ? "A 
child, a child is born, and the fond heart dances ; and yet 
the childless are the most happy." At Christmas ^ I saw a 
custom which pleased and interested me here. The chil- 
dren make little presents to their parents, and to one an- 
other, and the parents to the children. For three or four 
months before Christmas the girls are all busy, and the 
boys save up their pocket-money, to make or purchase 
these presents. What the present is to be is cautiously 
kept secret, and the girls have a world of contrivances to 
conceal it, such as working when they are at a visit, and 
the others are not with them, and getting up in the morn- 
ing long before light, etc. Then on the evening before 
Christmas Day, one of the parlours is lighted up by the 
children, into which the parents must not go. A great yew 

^ The following- description of the verbatim, in No. 19 of the original 
Christmas-tree, and of Knecht Ru- issue of The Friend, December 28, 
pert, was originally published, almost 1809. 


bouffli is fastened on the table at a little distance from the 
wall, a multitude of little tapers are fastened in the bough, 
but not so as to burn it, till they are nearly burnt out, and 
coloured paper, etc., hangs and flutters from the twigs. 
Under this bough the children lay out in great neatness 
the presents they mean for their parents, still concealing 
in their pockets what they intend for each other. Then 
the parents are introduced, and each presents his little 
gift — and then they bring out the others, and present 
them to each other with kisses and embraces. Where I saw 
the scene there were eight or nine children of different 
ages ; and the eldest daughter and the mother wept aloud 
for joy and tenderness, and the tears ran down the cheek 
of the father, and he clasped all his children so tight to 
his heart, as if he did it to stifle the sob that was rising 
within him. I was very much affected, and the shadow of 
the bough on the wall, and arching over on the ceiling, 
made a pretty picture — and then the raptures of the 
very little ones, when at last the twigs and thi-ead -leaves 
began to catch fire and snap ! Oh that was a delight for 
them ! On the next day in the great parlour the parents 
lav out on the tables the presents for the children ; a scene 
of more sober joy succeeds, as, on this day, after an old 
custom, the mother says privately to each of her daughters, 
and the father to each of his sons, that which he has ob- 
served most praiseworthy, and that which he has observed 
most faulty in their conduct, formerly, and still in all 
the little towns and villages through the whole of North 
Germany, these presents were sent by all the parents of the 
village to some one fellow, who, in high buskins, a white 
robe, a mask, and an enormous flax wig, personates Knecht 
Rupert, that is, the servant Rupert. On Christmas night 
he goes round to every house and saj^s that Jesus Christ 
his Master sent him there ; the parents and older children 
receive him with great pomp of reverence, while the little 
ones are most terribly frightened. He then enquires for 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 291 

tlie children, and according to the character which he hears 
from the parent he gives them the intended presents, as if 
they came out of Heaven from Jesus Christ ; or, if they 
should have been bad children, he gives the parents a rod, 
and, in the name of his Master Jesus, recommends them 
to use it frequently. About eight or nine years old, the 
children are let into the secret ; and it is curious, how 
faithfully they all keep it. There are a multitude of 
strange superstitions among the bauers ; — these still sur- 
vive in spite of the efforts of the Clergy, who in the north 
of Germany, that is, in the Hanoverian, Saxon, and Prus- 
sian dominions, are almost all Deists. But they make lit- 
tle or no impressions on the bauers, who are wonderfully 
religious and fantastically superstitious, but not in the 
least priest-rid. But in the Catholic countries of Ger- 
many the difference is vast indeed ! I met lately an intel- 
ligent and calm-minded man who had spent a considerable 
time at Marburg in the Bishopric of Padei'born in West- 
phalia. He told me that bead-prayers to the Holy Virgin 
are universal, and vmiversally, too, are magical powers 
attributed to one particular formula of words which are 
absolutely jargons ; at least, the words are to be found in 
no known language. The peasants believe it, however, to 
be a prayer to the Virgin, and happy is the man among 
them who is made confident by a priest that he can repeat 
it perfectly ; for heaven knows what terrible calamity 
might not happen if any one should venture to repeat it 
and blunder. Vows and pilgrimages to particular images 
are still common among the bauers. If any one dies be- 
fore the performance of his vow, they believe that he hov- 
ers between heaven and earth, and at times hobgoblins his 
relations till they perform it for him. Particular saints 
are believed to be eminently favourable to particular 
prayers, and he assured me solemnly that a little before 
he left Marburg a lady of Marburg had prayed and given 
money to have the public prayers at St. Erasmus's Chapel 


to St. Erasmus — for what, think you ? — that the baby, 
with which she was then pregnant, might be a boy with 
light hair and rosy cheeks. When their cows, pigs, or 
horses are sick they take them to the Dominican monks, 
who transcribe texts out of the holy hooks, and perform 
exorcisms. When men or women are sick they give largely 
to the Convent, who on good conditions dress them in 
Church robes, and lay a particular and highly venerated 
Crucifix on their breast, and perform a midtitude of antic 
ceremonies. In general, my informer confessed that they 
cured the persons, which he seemed to think extraordinary, 
but which I think very natural. Yearly on St. Blasius's 
Day unusual multitudes go to receive the Lord's Supper ; 
and while they are receiving it the monks hold a Blasius's 
Taper (as it is called) before the forehead of the kneeling 
person, and then pray to St. Blasius to drive away all 
headaches for the ensuing year. Their wishes are often 
expressed in this form : " Mary, Mother of God, make her 
Son do so and so." Yet with all this, from every infor- 
mation which I can collect (and I have had many oppor- 
tunities of collecting various aceoiuits), the peasants in 
the Catholic countries of Germany, but especially in Aus- 
tria, are far better off, and a far happier and liveher race, 
than those in the Protestant lands. ... I fill up the sheet 
with scattered customs put down in the order in which I 
happened to see them. The peasant children, wherever I 
have been, are dressed warm and tight, but very ugly: 
the dress looks a frock coat, some of coarse blue cloth, 
some of plaid, buttoned behind — the row of buttons run- 
ning down the back, and the seamless, buttonless fore-part 
has an odd look. When the peasants marrj^ if the girl is of 
a good character, the clergyman gives her a Virgin Crown 
(a tawdry, ugly thing made of gold and silver tinsel, like 
the royal crowns in shape). This they wear with cropped, 
powdered, and pomatumed hair — ■ in short, the bride looks 
ugliness personified. While I was at Ratzeburg a girl 

1799] TO HIS WIFE 293 

came to beg the pastor to let her be married in this crown, 
and she had had two bastards ! The pastor refused, of 
course. I wondered that a reputable farmer should marry 
her ; but the pastor told me that where a female bauer is 
the heiress, her having had a bastard does not much stand 
in her way ; and yet, though little or no infamy attaches to 
it, the number of bastards is but small — two in seventy 
has been the average of Ratzeburg among the peasants. 
By the bye, the bells in Germany are not rung as ours, 
with ropes, but two men stand, one on each side of the bell, 
and each pushes the bell away from him with his foot. In 
the churches, what is a baptismal font in our churches is a 
great Angel with a bason in his hand ; he draws up and 
down with a chain like a lamp. In a particular part of 
the ceremony down comes the great stone Angel with the 
bason, presenting it to the j)astor, who, having taken quant, 
suff., up flies my Angel to his old place in the ceiling 
— you cannot conceive how droll it looked. The graves 
in the little village churchyards are in square or paral- 
lelogrammic wooden cases — they look like boxes without 
lids — and thorns and briars are woven over them, as is 
done in some parts of England. Perhaps you recollect 
that beautiful passage in Jeremy Taylor's Holy Dying, 
" and the Summer brings briers to bud on our graves." 
The shepherds with iron soled boots walk before the sheep, 
as in the East — you know our Saviour says — " My 
Sheep follow me." So it is here. The dog and the shep- 
herd walk first, the shepherd with his romantic fur, and 
generally knitting a pair of wliite worsted gloves — he 
walks on and his dog by him, and then follow the sheep 
windins: along; the roads in a beautiful stream I In the 
fields I observed a multitude of poles with bands and 
trusses of straw tied round the higher part and the top — 
on enquiry we found that they were put there for the owls 
to perch upon. And the owls? They catch the field 
mice, who do amazing damage in the light soil all through- 


out the nortli of Germany. The gallows near Gbttingen, 
like that near Ratzeburg, is three great stone pillars, square, 
like huge tall chimneys, and connected with each other at 
the top by three iron bars with hooks to them — and near 
them is a wooden pillar with a wheel on the top of it on 
which the head is exposed, if the person instead of being 
hung is beheaded. I was frightened at first to see such a 
nuiltitude of bones and skeletons of sheep, oxen, and 
horses, and bones as I imagined of men for many, many 
yards all round the gallows. I found that in Germany the 
hangman is by the laws of the Empire infamous — these 
hangmen form a caste, and their families marry with each 
other, etc. — and that all dead cattle, who have died, belong 
to them, and are carried by the owners to the gallows and 
left there. When their cattle are bewitched, or otherwise 
desperately sick, the peasants take them and tie them to 
the gallows — drowned dogs and kittens, etc., are thrown 
there — in short, the grass grows rank, and yet the bones 
overtop it (the fancy of human bones must, I suppose, 
have arisen in my ignorance of comparative anatomy). 
God bless you, my Love ! I will write again speedily. 
When I was at Ratzeburg I wrote one wintry night in 
bed, but never sent you, three stanzas which, I dare say, 
you will think very silly, and so they are : and yet they 
were not written without a yearning, yearning, yearning 
Inside — for my yearning affects more than my heart. 
I feel it all within me. 


If I had but two little wings, 

And were a little feath'ry bird, 

To you I 'd fly, my dear ! 

But thoughts like these are idle things — 

And I stay here. 


But in my sleep to you I fly : 

I 'm always with you in my sleep — 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 295 

The World is all one's own. 

But then one wakes — And where am I ? — 

All, all alone ! 


Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids : 
So I love to wake ere break of day : 
For though my sleep be gone. 
Yet while 't is dark, one shuts one's lids, 
And still dreams on ! ^ 

If Mrs. Southey be with you, remember me with all 
kindness and thankfulness for their attention to you and 
Hartley. To dear Mrs. Poole give my filial love. My 
love to Ward. Why should I write the name of Tom 
Poole, excej)t for the pleasure of writing it? It grieves 
me to the heart that Nanny is not with you — I cannot 
bear changes — Death makes enough ! 

God bless you, my dear, dear wife, and believe me with 
eagerness to clasp you to my heart, your ever faithful 

S. T. Coleridge. 


May 6, 1799, Monday morn. 

My dear Poole, my dear Poole ! — I am homesick. So- 
ciety is a burden to me ; and I find relief only in labour. 
So I read and transcribe from morning till night, and 
never in my life have I worked so hard as this last 
month, for indeed I must sail over an ocean of matter 
with almost spiritual speed, to do what I have to do in 
the time in which I will do it or leave it undone ! O 
my God, how I long to be at home ! My whole Being 
so yearns after you, that when I think of the moment of 
our meeting, I catch the fashion of German joy, rush into 

* First published in Annual An- Cordomi. See Poetical Works, p. 
thology of 1800, under the signature 146, and Editor's Note, p. 621. 


your arms, and embrace you. Methinks my hand would 
swell if tlie whole force of my feeling were crowded there. 
Now the Spring comes, the vital sap of my affections 
rises as in a tree ! And what a gloomy Spring ! But a 
few days ago all the new buds were covered with snow ; 
and everything yet looks so brown and wintry, that yes- 
terday the roses (which the ladies carried on the ram- 
parts, their promenade), beautiful as they were, so little 
harmonized with the general face of nature, that they 
looked to me like silk and made roses. But these leaf- 
less Spring Woods ! Oh, how I long to hear you whistle 
to the Rippers ! ^ There are a multitude of nightingales 
here (poor things ! they sang in the snow). I thought 
of my own 2 verses on the nightingale, only because I 
thought of Hartley, my only Child. Dear lamb ! I 
hope he won't be dead before I get home. There are 
moments in which I have such a power of life within me, 
such a conceit of it, I mean, that I lay the blame of my 
child's death to my absence. Not intellectually ; but I 
have a strange sort of sensation, as if, while I was present, 
none could die whom I entirely loved, and doubtless it 
was no absurd idea of yours that there may be unions and 
connections out of the visible world. 

Wordsworth and his sister passed through here, as I 
have informed you^. I walked on with them five English 
miles, and spent a day with them. They were melancholy 
and hypped. W. was affected to tears at the thought 
of not being near me — wished me of course to live in 
the North of England near Sir Frederick Vane's great 
library.'^ I told him that, independent of the expense of 
removing, and the improj^riety of taking Mrs. Coleridge 

1 The men who rip the oak bark His little hand, the small forefinger up, 
from the logs for tanning-. ^'^^ ^^^ »« "s*«°- 

2 My dear babe, _ " The Nightingale, a Conversa- 

Who capable of no articulate sound, .. -r, ,, .,, . . ., ii-,r.o 

Mars all things with his imitative lisp, *l°^ ^0^"^^ ^"**^" ^"^ ^P"l' ^^^S. 

How he would place his hand beside his ■coetical n orks, p. 13o. 

ear, 3 Hutton Hall, near Penrith. 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 297 

to a place where she would have no acquaintance, two 
insurmountable objections, the library was no inducement 
to me — for I wanted old books chiefly, such as could be 
procured anywhere better than in a gentleman's new 
fashionable collection. Finally I told him plainly that 
you had been the man in whom first and in whom alone 
I had felt an anchor ! With all my other connections I 
felt a dim sense of insecurity and uncertainty, terribly 
incompatible. W. was affected to tears, very much af- 
fected ; but he deemed the vicinity of a library absolutely 
necessary to his health, nay to his existence. It is pain- 
ful to me, too, to think of not living near him ; for he is 
a good and Tcind man, and the only one whom in all 
things I feel my superior — and you will believe me when 
I say that I have few feelings more pleasurable than to 
find myself, in intellectual faculties, an inferior. 

But my resolve is fixed, not to leave you till you leave 
me ! I still think that Wordsworth will be disappointed 
in his expectation of relief from reading without society ; 
and I think it highly probable that where I live, there he 
will live ; unless he should find in the North any person 
or persons, who can feel and understand him, and recip- 
rocate and react on him. My many weaknesses are of 
some advantage to me ; they unite me more with the 
great mass of my fellow-beings — but dear Wordsworth 
appears to me to have hurtf ully segregated and isolated 
his being. Doubtless his delights are more deep and 
sublime ; but he has likewise more hours that prey upon 
the flesh and blood. With regard to HancocTc's house, if 
I can get no place within a mile or two of Stowey I must 
try to get that ; but I confess I like it not — not to say 
^hat it is not altogether pleasant to live directly opposite 
to a person who had behaved so rudely to Mrs. Coleridge. 
But these are in the eye of reason trifles, and if no other 
house can be got — in my eye, too, they shall be trifles. 


O Poole ! I am homesick. Yesterday, or rather yes- 
ternight, I dittied the following horrible ditty ; but my 
poor Mvise is quite gone — perhaps she may return and 
meet me at Stowey. 

'T is sweet to him who all the week 
Through city-crowds must push his way, 
To stroll alone through fields and woods, 
And hallow thus the Sabbath-day. 

And sweet it is, in summer bower, 
Sincere, affectionate, and gay, 
One's own dear children feasting round, 
To celebrate one's marriage day. 

But what is all to his delight, 
Who having long been doomed to roam. 
Throws off the bundle from his back. 
Before the door of his own home ? 

Home-sickness is no baby pang — 

This feel I hourly more and more : 

There 's only musick in thy wings, 

Thou breeze that play'st on Albion's Shore.^ 

The Professors here are exceedingly kind to all the 
Englishmen, but to me they pay the most flattering atten- 
tions, especially Blmnenbach and Eichhorn. Xothing can 
be conceived more delightfid than Blumenbach's lectures, 
and, in conversation, he is, indeed, a most interesting 
man. The learned Orientalist Tychsen ^ has given me 
instruction in the Gothic and Theotuscan languages, 
which I can now read pretty well ; and hope in the course 

1 First published in the Annual " Stammbuch " of the Wernigerode 

Anthology of 1800. See Poetical Inn. Early Years, i. 66. 

Works, p. 146, and Editor's Note, p. - Olaus Tychsen, 1734-1815, was 

621. According to Carlyon the lines " Prof essor of Oriental Tongues " at 

were dictated by Coleridge and in- Rostock, in Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 
scribed by one of the party in the 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 299 

of a year to be thorouglily acquainted with all the lan- 
guages of the North, both German and Celtic. I find 
being learned is a mighty easy thing, compared with any 
study else. My God ! a miserable poet must he be, and 
a despicable metaphysician, whose acquirements have not 
cost him more trouble and reflection than all the learning: 
of Tooke, Porson, and Parr united. With the advantage 
of a great library, learning is nothing — methinks, merely 
a sad excuse for being idle. Yet a man gets reputation 
by it, and reputation gets money ; and for reputation I 
don't care a damn, but money — yes — money I must get 
by all honest ways. Therefore at the end of two or three 
years, if God grant me life, expect to see me come out 
with some horribly learned book, full of manuscript quota- 
tions from Laplandish and Patagonian authors, possibly, 
on the striking resemblance of the Sweogothian and San- 
scrit languages, and so on ! N. B. Whether a sort of 
parchment might not be made of old shoes ; and whether 
apples should not be grafted on oak saplings, as the fruit 
woidd be the same as now, but the wood far more valu- 
able ? Ttoo ideas of mine. — To extract aquafortis from 
cucumbers is a discovery not yet made, but sugar from 
6e^e, oh ! all Germany is mad about it. I have seen the 
sugar sent to Blumenbach from Achard ^ the great chem- 
ist, and it is good enough. They say that an hundred 
pounds weight of bete will make twelve pounds of sugar, 
and that there is no expense in the preparation. It is the 
Beta altissima, belongs to the Beta vulgaris, and in Ger- 
many is called Bunkelriibe. Its leaves resemble those of 
the common red hete. It is in shape like a clumsy nine 
pin and about the size of a middling turnip. The flesh 
is white but has rings of a reddish cast. I wiU bring over 
a quantity of the seed. 

^ F. C. Achard, born in 1754, was sugar, molasses, and vinous spirit 
author of an " Instruction for making from Beet-root. " 


A stupid letter ! — I believe my late proficiency in 
learning has somewhat stupified me, but live in hopes of 
one better worth postage. In the last week of June, I 
trrust, you will see me. Chester is well and desires love 
and duty to his family. To your dear Mother and to 
Ward give my kind love, and to all who ask after me. 

My dear Poole ! don't let little Hartley die before I 
come home. That 's silly — true — and I burst into tears 
as I wrote it. Yours 

S. T. Coleridge. 







Nether Stowet, July 29, 1799. 
I AM doubtful, Southey, whether the circumstances 
which impel me to write to you ought not to keep me 
silent, and, if it were only a feeling of delicacy, I should 
remain silent, for it is good to do all things in faith. 
But I have been absent, Southey ! ten months, and if you 
knew that domestic affection was hard upon me, and that 
my own health was declining, would you not have shoot- 
ings within you of an affection which (" though fallen, 
though changed ") has played too important a part in the 
event of our lives and the formation of our character, 
ever to be forgotten f I am perplexed what to write, or 
how to state the object of my writing. Any participation 
in each other's moral being I do not wish, simply because 
I know enough of the mind of man to know that [it] is 
impossible. But, Southey, we have similar talents, senti- 
ments nearly similar, and kindred pursuits ; we have like- 
wise, in more than one instance, common objects of our 
esteem and love. I pray and intreat you, if we should 
meet at any time, let us not withhold from each other the 
outward expressions of daily kindliness ; and if it be no 
longer in your power to soften your opinions, make your 
feelings at least more tolerant towards me — (a debt of 
humility which assuredly we all of us owe to our most 
feeble, imperfect, and self -deceiving nature). We are 


few of us good enough to know our own hearts, and as to 
the hearts of others, let us struggle to hope that they are 
better than we think them, and resign the rest to our 
common Maker. God bless you and yours. 

S. T. Coleridge. 

[Southey's answer to this appeal has not been preserved, 
but its tenor was that Coleridge had slandered him to 
others. In his reply Coleridge " avers on his honour as a 
man and a gentleman " that he never charged Southey 
with " aught but deep and implacable enmity towards him- 
self," and that his authorities for this accusation were 
those on whom Southey relied, that is, doubtless, Lloyd 
and Lamb. He appeals to Poole, the " repository " of 
his every thought, and to Wordsworth, " with whom he 
had been for more than one whole year almost daily and 
frequently for weeks together," to bear him out in this 
statement. A letter from Poole to Southey dated August 
8, and forwarded to Minehead by " special messenger," 
bears ample testimony to Coleridge's disavowal. " With- 
out entering into particulars," he writes, " I will say gen- 
erally, that in the many conversations I have had with 
Coleridge concerning yourself, he has never discovered 
the least personal enmity against, but, on the contrary, 
the strongest affection for you stifled only by the unto- 
ward events of your separation." Poole's intervention 
was successful, and once again the cottage opened its 
doors to a distinguished guest. The Southeys remained 
as visitors at Stowey until, in company with their host, 
they set out for Devonshire.] 

Robe7-t Southey at ^i 

1799] TO THOMAS POOLE 305 


ExETEK, Southey's Lodgings, Mr. Tucker's, Fore Street Hill, 
September 16, 1799.1 

My dear Poole, — Here I am just returned from a 
little tour^ of five days, having seen rocks and waterfalls, 
and a pretty river or two ; some wide landscapes, and a 
multitude of asli-tree dells, and the blue waters of the 
" roaring sea," as little Hartley says, who on Friday fell 
down stairs and injured his arm. 'T is swelled and 
sprained, but, God be praised, not broken. The views of 
Totness and Dartmouth are among the most impressive 
things I have ever seen ; but in general what of Devon- 
shire I have lately seen is tame to Quantock, Porlock, 
Culbone, and Linton. So much for the country ! Now 
as to the inhabitants thereof, they are bigots, unalphabeted 
in the first feelings of liberality ; of course in all they speak 
and all they do not speak, they give good reasons for the 
opinions which they hold, viz, they hold the propriety of 
slavery, an opinion which, being generally assented to by 
Englishmen, makes Pitt and Paul the first among the 
moral fitnesses of things. I have three brothers, that is 
to say, relations by gore. Two are parsons and one is a 

^ The Coleridges were absent from ing Bovey waterfall [Becky Fall], 

Stowey for about a month. For through that wild dell of ashes 

the first fortnight they were guests which leads to Ashburton, most like 

of George Coleridge at Ottery. The the approach to upper Matterdale." 

latter part of the time was spent with " I have," he adds, " at this moment 

the Southeys in their lodgings at very distinct visual impressions of 

Exeter. It was during this second the tour, namely of Torbay, the 

visit that Coleridge accompanied village of Paignton with the Cas- 

Southey on a walking tour through tie." Southey was disappointed in 

part of Dartmoor and as far as Dart- South Devon, which he contrasts 

mouth. unfavourably with the North of 

- Coleridge took but few notes Somersetshire, but for " the dell of 

during this tour. In 1803 he retran- ashes " he has a word of praise, 

scribed his fragmentary jottings and Selections from Letters of Robert Sou- 

regrets that he possessed no more, the;/, i. 84. 
"though we were at the interest- 


colonel. George and the colonel, good men as times go — 
very good men — but alas ! we have neither tastes nor 
feelings in common. This I wisely learnt from their con- 
versation, and did not suffer them to learn it from mine. 
What occasion for it ? Hunger and thirst — roast fowls, 
mealy potatoes, pies, and clouted cream ! bless the inven- 
tors of them ! An honest philosopher may find therewith 
preoccvipation for his mouth, keeping his heart and brain, 
the latter in his scull, the former in the pericardium 
some five or six inches from the roots of his tongue ! 
Church and King ! Why I drink Church and King, mere 
cutaneous scabs of loyalty which only ape the king's evil, 
but affect not the interior of one's health. Mendicant 
sores ! it requires some little caution to keep them oj^en, 
but they heal of their own accord. Who (such a friend 
as I am to the system of fraternity) could refuse such a 
toast at the table of a clergyman and a colonel, his bro- 
ther ? So, my dear Poole ! I live in peace. Of the other 
party, I have dined with a Mr. Northmore, a pupil of 
Wakefield, who possesses a fine house half a mile from 
Exeter. In his boyhood he was at my father's school. 
. . . But Southey and self called upon him as authors — 
he having edited a Tryphiodorus and part of Plutarch, 
and being a notorious anti-ministerialist and free-thinker. 
He welcomed us as he ought, and we met at dinner Hucks 
(at whose house I dine Wednesday), the man who toured 
with me in Wales and afterwards published his " Tour," 
Kendall, a poet, who really looks like a man of genius, 
pale and gnostic, has the merit of being a Jacobin or so, 
but is a shallowist — and finally a Mr. BanfiU, a man of 
sense, information, and various literature, and most per- 
fectly a gentleman — in short a pleasant man. At his 
house we dine to-morrow. Northmore himself is an hon- 
est, vehement sort of a fellow who splutters out all his 
opinions like a fizgig, made of gunpowder not thoroughly 
dry, sudden and explosive, yet ever with a certain adhe- 


sive blubberliness of elocution. Shallow ! shallow ! A 
man who can read Greek well, but shallow ! Yet honest, 
too, and who ardently wishes the well-being of his fellow- 
men, and believes that without more liberty and more 
equality this well-being is not possible. He possesses a 
most noble library. The victory at Novi ! ^ If I were a 
good caricaturist I would sketch off Suwarrow in a car of 
conquest drawn by huge crabs ! ! With what retrograde 
majesty the vehicle advances ! He may truly say he 
came off with eclat, that is, a claw ! I shall be back at 
Stowey in less than three weeks. . . . 

We hope your dear mother remains well. Give my 
filial love to her. God bless her ! I beg my kind love to 
Ward. God bless you and 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Monday night. 


Stowey, Tuesday evening, October 15, 1799. 

It is fashionable among our philosophizers to assert the 
existence of a surplus of misery in the world, which, in 
my opinion, is no proof that either systematic thinking 
or unaffected seK-observation is fashionable among them. 
But Hume wrote, and the French imitated him, and we 
the French, and the French us ; and so philosophisms fly 
to and fro, in series of imitated imitations — shadows of 
shadows of shadows of a farthing-candle placed between 
two looking-glasses. For in truth, my dear Southey ! I 
am harassed with the rheu.niatism in my head and shoul- 
ders, not without arm-and-thigh-twitches — but when the 
pain intermits it leaves my sensitive frame so sensitive ! 
My enjoyments are so deep, of the fire, of the candle, of 
the thought I am thinking, of the old folio I am reading, 

^ Suwarrow, at the head of the Alessandria, in North Italy, August 
Austro-Russian troops, defeated the 15, 1799. 
French under Joubert at Novi near 


and the silence of the silent house is so most and very 
delightful, that upon my soul ! the rheumatism is no such 
bad thing as people make for. And yet I have, and do 
suffer from it, in much pain and sleeplessness and often 
sick at stomach through indigestion of the food, which I 
eat from compidsioii. Since I received your former let- 
ter, I have spent a few days at Upcott ; ^ but was too 
unwell to be comfortable, so I returned yesterday. Poor 
Tom ! ^ he has an adventurous calling. I have so wholly 
forgotten my geography that I don't know where Ferrol 
is, whether in France or Spain. Your dear mother must 
be very anxious indeed. If he return safe, it will have 
been good. God grant he may ! 

Massena 1 ^ and what say you of the resurrection and 
glorification of the Saviour of the East after his trials in 
the wilderness ? (I am afraid that this is a piece of blas- 
phemy ; but it was in simple verity such an infusion of 
animal spirits into me.) Buonaparte ! Buonaparte ! dear, 
dear, dear Buonaparte ! It would be no bad fun to hear 
the clerk of the Privy Council read this paragraph before 
Pitt, etc. " You ill-looking frog-voiced reptile I mind you 
lay the proper emphasis on the third dear^ or I '11 split 
your clerkship's skull for you ! " Poole ordered a paper. 
He has found out, he says, why the neiospapers had be- 
come so indifferent to him. Inventive Genius ! He begs 
his kind remembrances to you. In consequence of the 
news he burns like Greek Fire, under all the wets and 
waters of this health-and-harvest destroying weather. He 
flames while his barley smokes. " See ! " he says, " how it 

1 A temporary residence of Josiali A report had reached Eng'land that 
Wedg-woodjwho had taken it on lease the Sylph had been captured and 
in order to he near his newly pnr- brought to Ferrol. Southey's Life 
chased property at Combe Florey, and Correspondence, ii. 30. 

in Somersetshire. Meteyard's Group ^ Marshal Massena defeated the 

of Englishmen, 1871, p. 107. Russians under Prince Korsikov at 

2 Southey's brother, a midship- Zurich, September 25, 1799. 
man on board the Sylph g-un-brig. 


grows out again^ ruining tlie prospects of those who had 
cut it down ! " You are harvest-man enough, I suppose, to 
understand the metaphor. Jackson ^ is, I believe, out of 
all doubt a bad man. Why is it, if it be, and I fear it is, 
why is it that the studies of music and* painting are so un- 
favourable to the human heart ? Painters have been com- 
monly very clever men, which is not so generally the case 
with musicians, but both alike are ahnost uniformly de- 
bauchees. It is superfluous to say how much your account 
of Bampfylde ^ interested me. Predisposition to mad- 
ness gave him a cast of originality, and he had a species 
of taste wliich only genius could give ; but his genius 
does not appear 2i 2^010 erf ul or ehullient faculty (nearer to 
Lamb's than to the Gebir-man [Landor], so I judge from 
the few specimens /have seen). If you think otherwise, 
you are right I doubt not. I shall be glad to give Mr. 
and Mrs. Keenan^ the right hand of welcome with looks 
and tones in jit accompaniment. For the wife of a man 

1 William Jackson, organist of various talents made all who knew 
Exeter Cathedral, 1730-1803, a him remember him with regret, de- 
musical composer and artist. He signed to republish the little coUec- 
published, among other works. The tion of Bampfylde's Sonnets, with 
Four Ages with Essays, 1798. See what few of his pieces were still un- 
letter of Southey to S. T. Coleridge, edited. 

October 3, 1799, Southey' s Life and " Those poems which are here first 

Correspondence ii. 26. printed were transcribed from the 

2 John Codrington Warwick originals in his possession." 
Bampfylde, second son of Richard " Bampfylde published his Sonnets 
Bampfylde, of Poltimore, was the at a very early age ; they are some 
author of Sixteen Sonnets, pub- of the most original in our language, 
lished in 1779. In the letter of He died in a private mad-house, after 
October 3 (see above) Southey gives twenty years' confinement." Speci- 
an interesting account of his eccen- mens of the Later English Poets, 1808, 
trie habits and melancholy history, iii. 434. 

In a prefatory note to four of Bamp- ^ " A sister of General McKinnon, 

fylde's sonnets, included by Southey who was killed at Ciudad Rodrigo." 

in his Specimens of the Later Eng- In the same letter to Coleridge (see 

lish Foets, he explains how he came above) Southey says that he looked 

to possess the copies of some hitherto up to her with more respect because 

unpublished poems. the light of Buonaparte's counte- 

" Jackson of Exeter, a man whose nance had shone upon her. 


of genius who sympathises effectively with her husband in 
his habits and feelings is a rara avis with me ; though a 
vast majority of her own sex and too many of ours will 
scout her for a rara piscis. If I am well enough, Sara 
and I go to Bristol in a few days. I hope they will not 
come in the mean time. It is singularly unpleasant to me 
that I cannot renew our late acquaintances in Exeter 
without creating very serious uneasinesses at Ottery, 
Northmore is so preeminently an offensive character to 
the aristocrats. He sent Paine's books as a present to a 
clergyman of my brother's acquaintance, a Mr. Markes. 
This was silly enough. . . . 

I will set about " Christabel " with all speed ; but I do 
not think it a fit opening poem. What I think would be 
a fit opener, and what I would humbly lay before you as 
the best plan of the next Anthologia, I will coromunicate 
shortly in another letter entirely on this subject. Mo- 
hammed I will not forsake ; but my money-book I must 
write first. In the last, or at least in a late "Monthly 
Magazine " was an Essay on a Jesuitic conspiracy and 
about the Russians. There was so much grenius in it 
that I suspected William Taylor for the author ; but the 
style was so nauseously affected, so absurdly pedantic, 
that I was half-angry with myseK for the suspicion. 
Have you seen Bishop Prettyman's book ? I hear it is a 
curiosity. You remember Scott the attorney, who held 
such a disquisition on my simile of property resembling 
matter rather than blood ? and eke of St. John ? and you 
remember, too, that I shewed him in my face that there 
was no room for him in my heart ? Well, sir ! this man 
has taken a most deadly hatred to me, and how do you 
think he revenges himself ? He imagines that I write for 
the "Morning Post," and he goes regularly to the coffee- 
houses, calls for the paper, and reading it he observes 
aloud, " What damn'd stuff of poetry is always crammed 
in this paper ! such damn'd silly nonsense ! I wonder 


what coxcomb it is that writes it ! I wish the paper was 
kicked out of the coffee-house." Now, but for Cruik- 
shank, I could play Scott a precious trick by sending to 
Stuart, " The Angry Attorney, a True Tale," and I know 
more than enough of Scott's most singular parti-coloured 
rascalities to make a most humorous and biting satire of it. 
I have heard of a young Quaker who went to the Lobby, 
with a monstrous military cock-hat on his head, with a 
scarlet coat and up to his mouth in flower 'd muslin, swear- 
ing too most bloodily — all " that he might not be unlike 
other people ! " A Quaker's son getting himself christen'd 
to avoid being remarkable is as improbable a lie as ever 
self-delusion permitted the heart to impose on the under- 
standing, or the understanding to invent without the con- 
sent of the heart. But so it is. Soon after Lloyd's arri- 
val at Cambridge I understand Christopher Wordsworth 
wrote his uncle, Mr. Cookson,^ that Lloyd was going to 
read Greek with him. Cookson wrote back recommending 
caution, and whether or no an intimacy with so marked a 
character might not be prejudicial to his academical inter- 
ests. (This is his usual mild manner.) Christopher 
Wordsworth returned for answer that Lloyd was by no 
means a democrat, and as a proof of it, transcribed the 
most favourable passages from the " Edmund Oliver," and 
here the affair ended. You remember Lloyd's own 
account of this story, of course, more accurately than I, 
and can therefore best judge how far my suspicions of 
falsehood and exaggeration were well-founded. My dear 
Southey ! the having a bad heart and not having a good 
one are different things. That Charles Lloyd has a bad 
heart, I do not even think ; but I venture to say, and that 
openly, that he has not a good one. He is unfit to be any 
man's friend, and to all but a very guarded man he is a 

^ Dr. Cookson, Canon of Windsor of her time under his roof before 
and Rector of Forncett, Norfolk, she finally threw in her lot with her 
Dorothy Wordsworth passed much brother William in 1795. 


perilous acquaintance. Your conduct towards him, while 
it is wise, will, I doubt not, be gentle. Of confidence he 
is not worthy ; but social kindness and communicativeness 
purely intellectual can do you no harm, and may be the 
means of benefiting his character essentially. Aut ama 
me quia sum Dei, aut ut sim Dei, said St. Augustin, and 
in the laxer sense of the word " Ama " there is wisdom in 
the expression notwithstanding its wit. Besides, it is the 
way of peace. From Bristol perhaps I go to London, but 
I will write you where I am. Yours affectionately, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

I have great affection for Lamb, but I have likewise 
a perfect Lloyd-and-Lambophobia ! Independent of the 
irritation attending an epistolary controversy with them, 
their prose comes so damn'd dear ! Lloyd especially 
writes with a woman's fluency in a large rambling hand, 
most dull though profuse of feeling. I received from 
them in last quarter letters so many, that with the post- 
age I might have bought Birch's Milton. — Sara will write 
soon. Our love to Edith and your mother. 


Keswick,! Sunday, November 10, 1799. 

My DEAR SouTHET, — I am anxious lest so long 
silence should seem unaffectionate, or I would not, hav- 

1 The journal, or notes for a jour- road and Saddleback ; on the left a 
nal, of this first tour in the Lake fine but unwatered vale, walled by- 
Country, leaves a doubt whether grassy hills and a fine black crag 
Coleridge and Wordsworth slept at standing single at the terminus as 
Keswick on Sunday, November 10, sentry. Before me, that is, towards 
1799, or whether they returned to Keswick, the mountains stand, one 
Cockermouth. It is certain that behind the other, in orderly array, 
they passed through Keswick again as if evoked by and attentive to the 
on Friday, November 15, as the fol- white-vested wizards." It was from 
lowing entry testifies : — almost the same point of view that, 

" 1 mile and i from Keswick, a thirty years afterwards, his wife, on 

Druidical circle. On the right the her journey south after her daugh- 


ing so little to say, write to you from sucli a distant 
corner of the kingdom. I was called up to the North by 
alarming accounts of Wordsworth's health, which, thank 
God I are but little more than alarms. Siiice I have 
visited the Lakes and in a pecuniary way have made the 
trip answer to me. From hence I go to London, having 
had (by accident here) a sort of offer made to me of a 
pleasant kind, which, if it turn out well, will enable me 
and Sara to reside in London for the next four or five 
months — a thing I wish extremely on many and impor- 
tant accounts. So much for myself. In my last letter I 
said I would give you my reasons for thinking " Chris- 
tabel," luere it finished, and finished as spiritedly as it com- 
mences, yet still an improper opening poem. My reason 
is it cannot be expected to please all. Those who dislike 
it will deem it extravagant ravings, and go on through the 
rest of the collection with the feeling of disgust, and it is 
not impossible that were it liked by any it would still not 
harmonise with the real - life poems that follow. It 
ought, I think, to be the last. The first ought me judice 
to be a poem in couplets, didactic or satirical, such a one 
as the lovers of genuine poetry would call sensible and 
entertaining, such as the ignoramuses and Pope-admirers 
would deem genuine poetry. I had planned such a one, 
and, but for the absolute necessity of scribbling prose, I 
should have written it. The great and master fault of 
the last "Anthology" was the want of arrangement. It 
is called a collection, and meant to be continued annually ; 
yet was distinguished in nothing from any other single 
volume of poems equally good. Yours ought to have been 
a cabinet with proper compartments, and papers in them, 
whereas it was only the papers. Some such arrangement 
as this should have been adopted : First. Satirical and 
Didactic. 2. Lyrical. 3. Narrative. 4. Levities. 

ter's marriage, took a solemn fare- strange, but then so dear and so 
well of the Vale of Keswick once so familiar. 


" Sic positi quoniam suaves miscetis odores, 
Neve inter vites corylum sere " — 

is, I am convinced, excellent advice of Master Virgil's. 
N. B, A good motto ! 'T is from Virgil's seventh Ec- 

" Populus Alcidae gratissima, vitis laceho, 
Formosai myrtus Veneri, sua laurea Phoebo ; 
Phyllis amat corylos.'' 

But still, my dear Southey ! it goes grievously against 
the grain with me, that you should be editing antholo- 
gies. I would to Heaven that you could afford to write 
nothing, or at least to j^ublish nothing, till the completion 
and publication of the " Madoc." I feel as certain, as my 
mind dare feel on any subject, that it would lift you with 
a spring into a reputation that would give unmediate sale 
to your after compositions and a license of writing more 
at ease. Whereas " Thalaba " would gain you (for a time 
at least) more ridiculers than admirers, and the " Madoc " 
might in consequence be welcomed with an ecce iterum. 
Do, do, my dear Southey! publish the "Madoc" quam 
citissime, not hastily, but yet speedily. I will instantly 
publish an Essay on Epic Poetry in reference to it. I 
have been reading the ^neid, and there you will be all 
victorious, excepting the importance of ^^i^neas and his 
connection with events existing in Virgil's time. This 
cannot be said of " Madoc." There are other faults in 
the construction of your poem, but nothing compared to 
those in the ^neid. Homer I shall read too. 

(No signature.) 


December 9, [1799]. 

Mt dear Southey, — I pray you in your next give 
me the ^particulars of your health. I hear accounts so 
contradictory that I know only enough to be a good deal 
frightened. You will surely think it your duty to sus- 


pend all intellectual exertion ; as to money, you will get 
it easily enough. You may easily make twice the money 
you receive from Stuart by the use of the scissors ; for 
your name is prodigiously high among the London pub- 
lishers. I would to God your health permitted you to 
come to London. You might have lodgings in the same 
house with us. And this I am certain of, that not even 
Kingsdown is a more healthy or airy place. I have 
enough for us to do that would be mere child's work to 
us, and in which the women might assist us essentially, 
by the doing of which we might easily get a hundred and 
fifty pounds each before the first of April. This I speak, 
not from guess but from absolute conditions with book- 
sellers. The principal work to which I allude would be 
likewise a great source of amusement and profit to us in 
the execution, and assuredly we should be a mutual com- 
fort to each other. This I should press on you were not 
Davy at Bristol, but he is indeed an admirable young 
man ; not only must he be of comfort to you, but in 
whom can you place such reliance as a medical man ? 
But for Davy, I should advise your coming to London ; 
the difference of expense for three months could not be 
above fifty pounds. I do not see how it could be half as 
much. But I pray you write me all particulars, how 
you have been, how you are, and what you think the par- 
ticular nature of your disease. 

Now for poor George.^ Assuredly I am ready and 
willing to become his bondsman for five hundred pounds 
if, on the whole, you think the scheme a good one. I see 
enough of the boy to be fully convinced of his goodness 
and well-intentionedness ; of his present or probable 
talents I know little. To remain all his life an under 
clerk, as many have done, and earn fifty pounds a year in 
his old age with a trembling hand — alas! that were a 
dreary prospect. No creature under the sun is so helpless, 

^ George Fricker, Mrs. Coleridg-e's younger brother. 


so unfitted, I should think, for any other mode of life as a 
clerk, a mere clerk. Yet still many have begun so and 
risen into wealth and importance, and it is not impossible 
that before his term closed we might be able, if nought 
better offered, perhaps to procure him a place in a public 
office. We might between us keep him neat in clothes 
from our own wardrobes, I should think, and I am ready 
to allow five guineas this year, in addition to Mr, Savary's 
twelve pounds. More I am not justified to promise. Yet 
still I think it matter of much reflection with you. The 
commercial prospects of this country are, in my opinion, 
gloomy ; our present commerce is enormous : that it must 
diminish after a peace is certain, and should any accident 
injure the West India trade, and give to France a para- 
mountship in the American affections, that diminution 
would be vast indeed, and, of course, great would be the 
number of clerks, etc., wholly out of employment. This is 
no visionary speculation ; for we are consulting concerning 
a life., for probably fifty years. I should have given a more 
intense conviction to the goodness of the former scheme 
of apprenticing him to a printer, and would make every 
exertion to raise my share of the money wanting. How- 
ever, all this is talk at random. I leave it to you to 
decide. What does Charles Danvers think? He has 
been very kind to George. But to whom is he not kind, 
that body — blood — bone — muscle — nerve — heart and 
head — good man ! I lay final stress on his opinion in 
almost everything except verses ; those I know more 
about than he does — " God bless him, to use a vulgar 
phrase." This is a quotation from Godwin, who used 
these words in conversation with me and Davy. The 
pedantry of atheism tickled me hugely. Godwin is no 
great things in intellect ; but in heart and manner he is 
all the better for having been the husband of Mary Woll- 
stonecraft. Why did not George Dyer (who, by the bye, 


has written a silly milk-and-water life of you,^ in which 
your talents for pastoral and rural imagery are extolled, 
and in which you are asserted to be a republican), why 
did not George Dyer send to the " Anthology " that poem 
in the last "Monthly Magazine?" It is so very far 
superior to anything I have ever seen of his, and might 
have made some atonement for his former transgressions, 
God love him, he is a very good man ; but he ought not 
to degi-ade himself by writing lives of living characters 
for Phillips ; and all his friends make wry faces, peeping 
out of the pillory of his advertisemental notes. I hold to 
my former opinion concerning the arrangement of the 
" Anthology," and the booksellers with whom I have 
talked coincide with me. On this I am decided, that all 
the light pieces should be put together mider one title with 
a motto ''^ thus : '■'' JVos hcec novimus esse nihil — Phillis 
amat CorylosT I am afraid that I have scarce poetic 
enthusiasm enough to finish " Christabel ; " but the poem, 
with which Davy is so much delighted, I probably may 
finish time enough. I shall probably not publish my 
letters, and if I do so, I shall most certainly not publish 
any verses in them. Of course, I exj)ect to see them in 
the " Anthology." As to title, I should wish a fictitious 

1 A gossiping' account of the early mestic life, and, fortunately, was 
history and writing's of "Mr. Robert very happy in his matrimonial con- 
Southey " appeared in Public Char- nection." It was Sir Richard Phil- 
ackers /or 1 700-1800, a humble fore- lips, the "knight" of Coleridge's 
runner of Men of the Time, pub- anecdote, who told Mrs. Barbauld 
lished by Richard Phillips, the that he would have given " nine 
founder of the Monthly Magazine, guineas a sheet for the last hour 
and afterwards knighted as a sheriff and a half of his conversation." 
of the city of London. Possibly Letters, Conversations, etc., 1836, ii. 
Coleridge was displeased at the 131, 132. 

mention of his name in connection 2 " These various pieces were rear- 

with Pantisocracy, and still more by ranged in three volumes under the 

the following sentence : " The three title of Minor Poems, in 1815, with 

young poetical friends, Lovel, Sou- this motto, Nos hcec novimus esse 

they, and Coleridge, married three nihil." Poetical Works of Robert 

sisters. Southey is attached to do- Southey, 1837, ii. 



one or none ; were I sure that I could finish the poem I 
spolie of. I do not know how to get the conclusion of 
Mrs. Robinson's poem for you. Perhaps it were better 
omitted, and I mean to put the thoughts of that concert 
poem into smoother metre. Our " Devil's Thoughts " 
have been admired far and wide, most enthusiastically 
admired. I wish to have my name in the collection at all 
events ; but I should better like it to better poems than 
these I have been hitherto able to give you. But I will 
wiite again on Saturday. Supposing that Johnson should 
mean to do nothing more with the " Fears in Solitude " 
and the two accompanying poems, would they be excluded 
from the plan of your " Anthology ? " There were not 
above two hundred sold, and what is that to a newspaper 
circulation ? Collins's Odes were thus reprinted in Dods- 
ley's Collection. As to my future residence, I can say 
nothing — only this, that to be near you would be a 
strong motive with me for my wife's sake as well as my- 
self. I think it not impossible that a niuuber might be 
found to go with you and settle in a warmer climate. 
My kind love to your wife. Sara and Hartley arrived 
safe, and here they are, No. 21 Buckingham Street, 
Strand. God bless you, and your affectionate 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Thursday evening. 

P. S. Mary Hayes ^ is writing the " Lives of Famous 
Women," and is now about your friend Joan. She begs 
you to tell her what books to consult, or to communicate 
something to her. This from Tobin, who sends his love. 

^ Mary Hayes, a friend of Mary moirs of Emma Courtney, and Fe- 

Wollstonecraft, whose opinions she male Biography, or Memoirs of Ulus- 

advocated with great zeal, and trious and Celebrated Wo)nen. Six 

whose death she witnessed. Among volumes. London : R. Phillips, 

other works, she wrote a novel, Me- 1803. 



Tuesday night, 12 o'clock [December 24], 1799. 

My dear Southey, — My Spinosism (if Spinosism it 
be, and i' faith 't is very like it) disposed me to consider 
this big city as tbat part of tbe supreme One which the 
prophet Moses was allowed to see — I should be more dis- 
posed to pull off my shoes, beholding Him in a Bush, than 
while I am forcing my reason to believe that even in the- 
atres He is, yea ! even in the Opera House. Your " Thai- 
aba " will beyond all doubt bring you two hundred pounds, 
if you will sell it at once ; but do not print at a venture, 
under the notion of selling the edition. I assure you that 
Longman regretted the bargain he made with Cottle con- 
cerning the second edition of the " Joan of Arc," and is 
indisposed to similar negotiations ; but most and very eager 
to have the property of your works at almost any price. 
If you have not heard it from Cottle, why, you may hear 
it from me, that is, the arrangement of Cottle's affairs in 
London. The whole and total copyright of your " Joan," 
and the first volume of your poems (exclusive of what 
Longman had before given), was taken by him at three 
hundred and seventy pounds. You are a strong swimmer, 
and have borne up poor Joey with all his leaden weights 
about him, his own and other people's ! Nothing has an- 
swered to him but your works. By me he has lost some- 
what — by Fox, Amos, and himself very much. I can seU 
your "Thalaba" quite as weU in your absence as in your 
presence. I am employed from I-rise to I-set^ (that is, 
from nine in the morning to twelve at night), a pure scrib- 
bler. My mornings to booksellers' compilations, after din- 
ner to Stuart, who pays all my expenses here, let them be 
what they will ; the earnings of the morning go to make 
up an hundred and fifty pounds for my year's expendi- 
ture ; for, supposing all clear my year's (1800) allowance 

^ He used the same words in a 1799. Thomas Poole and his Friends, 
letter to Poole dated December 31, i. 1. 


is anticipated. But this I can do by the first of April (at 
which time I leave London). For Stuart I write often 
his leading paragraphs on Secession, Peace, Essay on the 
new French Constitution,^ Advice to Friends of Freedom, 
Critiques on Sir W. Anderson's Nose, Odes to Georgiana 
D. of D. (horribly misprinted), Christmas Carols, etc., etc., 
— anything not bad in the paper, that is not yours, is 
mine. So if any verses there strike you as worthy the 
" Anthology," " do me the honour, sir ! " However, in the 
course of a week I do mean to conduct a series of essays 
in that paper which may be of public utility. So much 
for myself, except that I long to be out of London; and 
that my Xstmas Carol is a quaint performance, and, in as 
strict a sense as is possible, an Impromptu, and, had I done 
all I had planned, that " Ode to the Duchess " ^ would have 
been a better thing than it is — it being somewhat dull- 
ish, etc. I have bought the " Beauties of the Anti-jaco- 
bin," and attorneys and counsellors ad^^se me to prosecute, 
and offer to undertake it, so as that I shall have neither 
trouble or expense. They say it is a clear case, etc.^ I 

^ " Essay on the New French Con- That anxious heart to each fond feeling 

stitution," Essays on His Own Times, ' 

• 1 QQ 1 QO y°" ^'■^^ pants each pleasure to impart, 

And soon — oh transport — reach its home 

2 The Ode appeared in the Morn- and you. 

ing Post, December 24, 1799. The _p^^,„ ^ transcript in my possession 

stanzas in which the Duchess com- ^j. ^^,;^ -^^ ^^^ ^^^,^ -^^ ;-,^^^ ^^^ •„ ^j^^ 

memorated her passage over Mount j^^nd writ ing of Mrs. H. N. Cole- 

St. Gothard appeared in the Morn- ridae 

ing Post, December 21. They were g The libel of which Coleridge 

inscribed to her children, and it was ^^^^^^ complained was contained in 

the last stanza, in which she antici- ^j^^^^ ^^^^^ . u gj^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ (^j^^^^. 

pates her return, which suggested to j^^ ^j^^^^ j^^^^^ Cambridge) he has 

Colerulge the far-fetched conceit j^j^ j^j^ ^^^j^^ country, commenced 

that m:iternal affection enabled the ^-^^-^^^ ^f ^^^ ^^^^^^ j^f^ j^-^ ^^^^ 

Duchess to overcome her aristocratic children fatherless and his wife des- 

prejudices, and "hail Tell's chapel ^j^^^^ ^^ ^-^ ^-^^^ j^-^ ^^^^^^^^ 

and the platform wild." It runs l^^^^ ^^^ Southey." Biographia 

^^ ■ Literaria, 1817, vol. i. chapter i. p. 

Hope of my life ! dear children of my heart! 70, n. 


will speak to Jolinson about the " Fears in Solitude." If 
he gives them up they are yours. That dull ode has been 
printed often enough, and may now be allowed to " sink 
with dead swoop, and to the bottom ^o," to quote an ad- 
mired author; but the two others will do with a little 

My dear Southey ! I have said nothing concerning that 
which most oppresses me. Immediately on my leaving 
London I fall to the " Life of Lessing; " till that is done, 
till I have given the Wedgwoods some proof that I am 
endeavouring to do well for my fellow-creatures, I cannot 
stir. That being done, I would accompany you, and see 
no impossibility of forming a pleasant little colony for a 
few years in Italy or the South of France. Peace will 
soon come. God love you, my dear Southey! I would 
write to Stuart, and give up his paper immediately. You 
should do nothing that did not absolutely -please you. Be 
idle, be very idle ! The habits of your mind are such that 
you will necessarily do much ; but be as idle as you can. 

Our love to dear Edith. If you see Mary, tell her that 
we have received our trunk. Hartley is quite well, and 
my talkativeness is his, without diminution on my side. 
'T is strange, but certainly many things go in the blood, 
beside gout and scrophula. Yesterday I dined at Long- 
man's and met Pratt, and that honest piece of prolix duU- 
ity and nullity, young Towers, who desired to be remem- 
bered to you. To-morrow Sara and I dine at Mister 
Gobwin's, as Hartley calls him, who gave the philosopher 
such a rap on the shins with a ninepin that Gobwin in 
huge pain lectured Sara on his boisterousness. I was not 
at home. Est modus in rebus. Moshes is somewhat too 
rough and noisy, but the cadaverous silence of Godwin's 
children is to me quite catacombish, and, thinking of Mary 
Wollstonecraft, I was oppressed by it the day Davy and I 
dined there. 

God love you and S. T. Coleridge. 



Saturday, January 25, 1800. 

My dear Southey, — No day passes in whicli I do not 
as it were yearn after you, but in truth my occupations 
have lately swoln above smothering point. I am over 
mouth and nostrils. I have inclosed a poem which Mrs. 
Robinson gave me for your " Anthology." She is a wo- 
man of undoubted genius. There was a poem of hers in 
this morning's paper which both in metre and matter 
pleased me much. She overloads everything ; but I never 
knew a human being with so full a mind — bad, good, 
and indifferent, I grant you, but full and overflowing. 
This poem I ashed for you, because I thought the metre 
stimvdating and some of the stanzas really good. The 
first line of the twelfth would of itself redeem a worse 
poem.i I think you will agree with me, but should you 
not, yet still put it in, my dear fellow ! for my sake, and 
out of respect to a woman-poet's feelings. Miss Hayes I 
have seen. Charles Lloyd's conduct has been atrocious 
beyond what you stated. Lamb himself confessed to me 
that during the time in which he kept up his ranting, sen- 
timental correspondence with Miss Hayes, he frequently 
read her letters in company, as a subject for laughter, and 
then sate down and answered them quite a la Rousseau ! 
Poor Lloyd ! Every hour new-creates him ; he is his own 
posterity in a perpetually flowing series, and his body un- 
fortunately retaining an extei-nal identity, their mutual 
contradictions and disagreeings are united under one name, 
and of course are called lies, treachery, and rascality ! I 
would not give ]\im up, but that the same circumstances 
which have wrenched his morals prevent in him any salu- 

^ Mrs. Robinson (" Perdita ") con- caught Coleridge's fancy, the first of 

tributed two poems to the Annual An- the twelfth stanza, runs thus : — 
thology of 1800, " Jasper " and " The " Pale Moon ! thou Spectre of the Sky." 

Haunted Beach." The line which Annual Anthology, 1800, p. 168. 


tary exercise of genius. And therefore lie is not worth to 
the world that I should embroil and embrangle myself in 
his interests. 

Of Miss Hayes' intellect I do not think so highly as you, 
or rather, to speak sincerely, I think not contem'ptuously 
but certainly despectively thereof. Yet I think you likely 
in this case to have judged better than I ; for to hear a 
thing, ugly and petticoated, ex-syllogize a God with cold- 
blooded precision, and attempt to run religion through the 
body with an icicle, an icicle from a Scotch Hog-trough ! 
I do not endure it ; my eye beholds phantoms, and " no- 
thing is, but what is not." 

By your last I could not find whether or no you still 
are willing to execute the " History of the Levelling Prin- 
ciple." Let me hear. Tom Wedgwood is going to the 
Isle of St. Nevis. As to myself, Lessing out of the ques- 
tion ; I must stay in England. . , . Dear Hartley is well, 
and in high force ; he sported of his own accord a theolo- 
gico-astronomical hypothesis. Having so perpetually heard 
of good boys being put up into the sky when they are dead, 
and being now beyond measure enamoured of the lamps in 
the streets, he said one night coming through the streets, 
" Stars are dead lamps, they be'nt naughty, they are put 
up in the sky." Two or three weeks ago he was talking 
to himself while I was writing, and I took down his solilo- 
quy. It would make a most original poem. 

You say, I illuminize. I think that property will some 
time or other be modified by the predominance of intellect, 
even as rank and superstition are now modified by and 
subordinated to property, that much is to be hoped of the 
future ; but first those particular modes of property which 
more particularly stop the diffusion must be done away, as 
injurious to property itself ; these are priesthood and the 
too great patronage of Government. Therefore, if to act 
on the belief that all things are the process, and that inap- 
plicable truths are moral falsehoods, be to illuminize, why 


then I illuminize ! I know that I have been obliged to 
illuminize so late at night, or rather mornings, that eyes 
have smarted as if I had allum in eyes ! I believe I have 
misspelt the word, and ought to have written Alum ; that 
aside, 't is a humorous pun ! 

Tell Davy that I will soon write. God love him ! You 
and I, Southey ! know a good and great man or two in this 
world of ours. 

God love you, my dear Southey, and your affectionate 


My kind love to Edith. Let me hear from you, and do 
not be angry with me that I don't answer your letters 


(Early in 1800.) 

My dear Southey, — I shall give up this Newspaper 
business ; it is too, too fatiguing. I have attended the 
Debates twice, and the first time I was twenty -five hours 
in activity, and that of a very unpleasant kind ; and the 
second time, from ten in the morning till four o'clock the 
next morning. I am sure that you ■s^dll excuse my silence, 
though indeed after two such letters from you I cannot 
scarcely excuse it myself. First of the book business. I 
find a resistance which I did not expect to the anonymous- 
ness of the publication. Longman seems confident that 
a woik on such a subject without a name would not do. 
Translations and perhaps Satires are, he says, the only 
works that booksellers now venture on u-ithout a name. 
He is very solicitous to have your " Thalaba," and wonders 
(most wonderfid !) that you do not write a novel. That 
would be the thing ! and trul}^ if by no more pains than a 
" St. Leon " ^ requires you could get four hundred pomids ! ! 

^ St. Leon was published in 1799. William Godwin, his Friends and 
Contemporaries, i. 330. 


or half the money, I say so too ! If we were together we 
might easily toss up a novel, to be published in the name 
of one of us, or t%oo^ if that were all, and then christen 'em 
by lots. As sure as ink flows in my pen, by help of an 
amanuensis I could write a volume a week — and Godwin 
got four hundred pounds ! for it — think of that. Master 
Brooks. I hope that some time or other you will write a 
novel on that subject of yours ! I mean the " Rise and 
Progress of a Laugher " — Le Grice in your eye — the 
effect of Laughing on taste, manners, morals, and happi- 
ness ! But as to the Jacobin Book, I must wait till I hear 
from you. Phillips would be very glad to engage you to 
write a school book for him, the History of Poetry in all 
nations, about 400 pages ; but this, too, must have your 
name. He would give sixty pounds. If poor dear Bur- 
nett were with you, he might do it under your eye and 
with your instructions as well as you or I could do it, but 
it is tlie name. Longman remarked acutely enough, " The 
booksellers scarcely pretend to judge the merits of the 
hook., but we know the saleableness of the name ! and as 
they continue to buy most books on the calculation of a 
first edition of a thousand copies, they are seldom much 
mistaken ; for the name gives them the excuse for sending 
it to all the Gemnien in Great Britain and the Colonies, 
from whom they have standing orders for new books of 
reputation." This is the secret why books published by 
country booksellers, or by authors on their own account, so 
seldom succeed. 

As to my schemes of residence, I am as unfixed as your- 
self, only that we are under the absolute necessity of fixing 
somewhere, and that somewhere will, I suppose, be Stowey. 
There are all my books and all our furniture. In May I 
am under a kind of engagement to go with Sara to Ottery. 
My family wish me to fix there, but that I must decline in 
the names of public liberty and individual free-agency. 
Elder brothers, not senior in intellect, and not sympathis- 


ing in main opinions, are subjects of occasional visits, not 
temptations to a co-township. But if you go to Burton, 
Sara and I will waive the Ottery plan, if possible, and 
spend May and June with you, and perhaps July ; but she 
must be settled in a house by the latter end of July, or the 
first week in August. Till we are with you, Sara means 
to spend five weeks with the Roskillies, and a week or two 
at Bristol, where I shall join her. She will leave London 
in three weeks at least, perhaps a fortnight ; and I shall 
give up lodgings and billet myself free of expense at my 
friend Purkis's, at Brentford. This is my present plan. 
O my dear Southey ! I would to God that your health 
did not enforce you to migrate — we might most assuredly 
continue to fix a residence somewhere, which might pos- 
sess a sort of centrality. Alfoxden would make tw^o houses 
sufficiently divided for unimpinging independence. 

TeU Davy that I have not forgotten him, because with- 
out an epilepsy I cannot forget him ; and if I wrote to 
him as often as I think of him, Lord have mercy on his 
pocket ! 

God bless you again and again. 

S. T. Coleridge. 

I pass this evening with Charlotte Smith at her house. 


[Postmark February IS], 1800. 

My dear Southey, — ^^^lat do you mean by the 
words, " it is indeed by expectation " ? speaking of your 
state of health. I cannot bear to think of your going to 
a strange country without any one who loves and under- 
stands you. But we will talk of all this. I have not a 
moment's time, and my head aches. I was up till five 
o'clock this morning. My brain is so overworked that I 
could doze troublously and with cold limbs, so affected 
was my circulation. I shall do no more for Stuart. 


Read Pitt's speech ^ in the " Morning Post " of to-day 
(February 18, Tuesday). I reported the whole with 
notes so scanty, that — Mr. Pitt is much obliged to me. 
For, by Heaven, he never talked half as eloquently in his 
life-time. He is a stupid, insipid charlatan, that Pitt. 
Indeed, except Fox, I, you, or anybody might learn to 
speak better than any man in the House. For the next 
fortnight I expect to be so busy, that I shall go out of 
London a mile or so to be wholly uninterrupted. I do 
not understand the Beguin-nings ^ of Holland. Phillips is 
a good-for-nothing fellow, but what of that ? He will 
give you sixty pounds, and advance half the money now 
for a book you can do in a fortnight, or three weeks at 
farthest. I would advise you not to give it up so hastily. 
Phillips eats no flesh. I observe, wittily enough, that 
whatever might be thought of innate ideas, there could be 
no doubt to a man who had seen Phillips of the existence 
of innate beef. Let my " Mad Ox " keep my name. 
" Fire and Famine" do just what you like with. I have 

^ See " Mr. Coleridge's Report of and champion of Jacobinism," which 

Mr. Pitt's Speech in Parliament of is not to he found in The Times 

February 17, 1800, On the contin- report, appears in the notes as " the 

uance of the War with France." nursling and champion of Jacohin- 

Morning Post, February 18, 1800; ism," and, if these were the words 

Essays on His Oivn Times, ii. 293. which Pitt used, in this instance. 

See, too, Mrs. H. N. Coleridge's Coleridge altered for the worse, 

note, and the report of the speech ^ ' ' The Beguines I had looked 

in The Times. Ibid. iii. 1009-1019. upon as a religious establishment. 

The original notes, which Coleridge and the only good one of its kind, 

took in pencil, have been preserved When my brother was a prisoner at 

in one of his note-books. They Brest, the sick and wounded were 

consist, for the most part, of skele- attended by nurses, and these women 

ton sentences and fragmentary jot- had made themselves greatly be- 

tings. How far Coleridge may have loved and respected." Southey to 

reconstructed Pitt's speech as he Riekman, January 9, 1800. Life 

went along, it is impossible to say, and Correspondence, ii. 46. It is well 

but the speech as reported follows known that Southey advocated the 

pretty closely the outlines in the establishment of Protestant orders 

note-book. The remarkable de- of Sisters of Mercy, 
scription of Buonaparte as the " child 


no wish either way. The " Fears in Solitude," I fear, 
is not my property, and I have no encouragement to 
think it will be given up, but if I hear otherwise I will 
let you know speedily ; in the mean time, do not rely on 
it. Your review-plan^ cannot answer for this reason. 
It could exist only as long as the ononymous anti-anony- 
mists remained in life, health, and the humour, and no 
publisher would undertake a periodical publication on so 
gossamery a tie. Besides, it really would not be right 
for any man to make so many people have strange and 
uncomfortable feelings towards him ; which must be the 
case, however kind the reviews might be — and what but 
nonsense is published ? The author of " Gebir " I can- 
not find out. There are none of his books in town. You 
have made a sect of Gebirites by your review, but it was 
not a fair^ though a very kind review. I have sent a 
letter to Mrs. Fricker, which Sara directed to you. I 
hope it has come safe. Let me see, are there any other 
questions ? 

So, my dear Southey, God love you, and never, never 
cease to believe that I am affectionately yours, 


Love to Edith. 


No. 21 Buckingham Street [early in 1800]. 

My deae Southey, — I will see Longman on Tues- 
day, at the farthest, but I pray you send me up what you 
have done, if you can, as I will read it to him, unless he 
will take my word for it. But we cannot expect that he 
will treat finally without seeing a considerable specimen. 
Send it by the coach, and be assured that it will be as 

^ In a letter from Southey to the Levelling Principle," which 

Coleridge, dated February 15, 1800 Coleridge had suggested as a joint 

(unpublished), he proposes the es- work, he would only publish anony- 

tablishnieut of a Magazine with mously. 
signed articles. But a " History of 


safe as in your own escritoire, and I will remit it the 
very day Longman or any bookseller lias treated for it 
satisfactorily. Less than two hundred pounds I would 
not take. Have you tried warm bathing in a high tem- 
perature? As to your travelling, your first business 
must, of course, be to settle. The Greek Islands ^ and 
Turkey in general are one continued Hounslow Heath, 
only that the highwaymen there have an awkward habit 
of murdering people. As to Poland and Hungary, the 
detestable roads and inns of them both, and the severity 
of the climate in the former, render travelling there little 
suited to your state of health. Oh ! for peace and the 
South of France ! What a detestable villainy is not the 
new Constitution.^ I have written all that relates to it 
which has appeared in the " Morning Post ; " and not 
without strength or elegance. But the French are chil- 
dren.^ 'Tis an infirmity to hope or fear concerning 
them. I wish they had a king again, if it were only that 
Sieyes and Bonaparte might be hung. Guillotining is 
too republican a death for such reptiles ! You '11 write 
another quarter for Mr. Stuart ? You will torture your- 

^ See Letter from Southey to and inflexible, who should have lev- 
Coleridge, December 27, 1799. Life elled the property of France, and 
and Correspondence, ii. 35. then would the Republic have been 

2 " Concerning the French, I wish immortal — and the world must 

Bonaparte had staid in Egypt and have been revolutionized by exam- 

that Robespierre had guilloteened pie." From an unpublished letter 

Sieyfes. These cursed complex gov- from Southey to Coleridge, dated 

ernments are good for nothing, and December 23, 1799. 

will ever be in the hands of in- ^ " Alas, poor human nature ! Or 

trigners : the Jacobins were the men, rather, indeed, alas, poor Gallic na- 

and one house of representatives, ture ! For Tpaioi oeJ TroiSes the 

lodging the executive in committees, French are always children, and ib 

the plain and common system of is an infirmity of benevolence to 

government. The cause of repub- wish, or dread, aught concerning 

licanism is over, and it is now only them." S. T. C, Morning Post, 

a struggle for dominion. There December 31, 1797 ; Essays on His 

wants a Lycurgus after Robespierre, Own Times, i. 184. 
a man loved for his virtue, and bold 


self for twelve or thirteen guineas ? I pray you do not 
do so ! You might get without the exertion, and with but 
little more expenditure of time, from fifty to an hundred 
pounds. Thus, for instance, bring together on your table, 
or skim over successively Briicker, Lardner's " History 
of Heretics," Russell's "Modern Europe," and Andrews' 
" History of England," and write a history of levellers 
and the levelling principle under some goodly title, nei- 
ther praising or abusing them. Lacedsemon, Crete, and 
the attempts at agrarian laws in Rome — all these you 
have by heart. . . . Plato and Zeno are, I believe, nearly 
all that relates to the purpose in Briicker. Lardner's 
is a most amusing book to read. Write only a sheet 
of letter paper a day, which you can easily do in an 
hour, and in twelve weeks you will have produced (with- 
out any toil of brains, observing none but chronological 
arrangement, and giving you little more than the trouble 
of transcription) twenty - four sheets octavo, I will 
gladly write a philosophical introduction that shall en- 
lighten without offending, and therein state the rise of 
property, etc. For this you might secure sixty or seventy 
guineas, and receive half the money on producing the first 
eight sheets, in a month from your first commencement of 
the work. Many other works occur to me, but I mention 
this because it might be doing great good, inasmuch as 
boys and youths would read it with far different impres- 
sions from their fathers and godfathers, and yet the latter 
find nothing alarming in the nature of the work, it being 
purely historical. If I am not deceived b}^ the recency 
of their date, my " Ode to the Duchess " and my " Xmas 
Carol " will do for your " Anthology." I have therefore 
transcribed them for you. But I need not ask you, for 
God's sake, to use your own judgment without spare. 

(No signature.) 



February 28, 1800. 

It goes to my heart, my dear Southey ! to sit down and 
write to you, knowing that I can scarcely fill half a side 
— the postage lies on my conscience. I am translating 
manuscript plays of Schiller.^ They are poems, full of 
long speeches, in very polish'd blank verse. The theatre ! 
the theatre ! my dear Southey ! it will never, never, never 
do ! If you go to Portugal, your History thereof will do, 
but, for present money, novels or translations. I do not 
see that a book said by you in the preface to have been 
written merely as a book for young persons coidd injure 
your reputation more than Milton's " Accidence " injured 
his. I would do it, because you can do it so easily. It 
is not necessary that you should say much about French 
or German Literature. Do it so. Poetry of savage na- 
tions — Poetry of rudely civilized — Homer and the He- 
brew Poetry, etc. — Poetry of civilized nations under 
Republics and Polytheism, State of Poetry under the Ro- 
man and Greek Empires — Revival of it in Italy, in Spain, 
and England — then go steadily on with England to the 
end, except one chapter about German Poetry to conclude 
with, which I can write for you. 

In the " Morning Post " was a poem of fascinating 
metre by Mary Robinson ; 't was on Wednesday, Feb. 
26, and entitled the " Haunted Beach." ^ I was so struck 
with it that I sent to her to desire that [it] might be pre- 
served in the " Anthology." She was extremely flattered 
by the idea of its being there, as she idolizes you and your 
doings. So, if it be not too late, I pray you let it be in. If 
you should not have received that day's paper, write im- 

^ See Poetical Works, Appendix K, And mark'd his Murderer wash hia hand 

pp. 544, 545. Editor's Note, pp. Where the green billows played ! " 

646-649. Annual Anthology, 1800: "The 

2 " The u'uz^fr Moon upon the sand Haunted Beach," sixth stanza, p. 

A silvery Carpet made, 256. 
And mark'd the sailor reach the land — 


mediately that I may transcribe it. It falls off sadly to 
the last, wants tale and interest ; but the images are new 
and very distinct — that " silvery carpet " is so just that 
it is unfortunate it should seem so bad, for it is really 
good ; but the metre, ay ! that woman has an ear. Wil- 
liam Taylor, from whom I have received a couple of let- 
ters full of thought and information, says what astounded 
me, that double rhymes in our language have always a 
ludicrous association. Mercy on the man ! where are his 
ears and feelings ? His taste cannot be quite right, from 
this observation ; but he is a famous fellow — that is not 
to be denied. 

Sara is poorly still. Hartley rampant, and emperorizes 
with your pictures. Harry is a fine boy. Hartley told a 
gentleman, " Metinks you are lihe Soutliey^^ and he was 
not wholly unlike you — but the chick calling you simple 
" Southey," so pompously ! 

God love you and your Edith. 








August 14, 1800. 
Mt dear Poole, — Your two letters ^ I received exactly 
four days ago — - some days they must have been lying at 
Ambleside before they were sent to Grasmere, and some 
days at Grasmere before they moved to Keswick. ... It 
grieved me that you had felt so much from my silence. 
Believe me, I have been harassed with business, and shall 
remain so for the remainder of this year. Our house is a 
delightful residence, something less than half a mile from 
the lake of Keswick and something more than a furlong 
from the town. It commands both that lake and the lake 
of Bassenthwaite. Skiddaw is behind us ; to the left, the 
right, and in front mountains of all shapes and sizes. The 
waterfall of Lodore is distinctly visible. In garden, etc., 
we are uncommonly well off, and our landlord, who re- 
sides next door in this twofold house, is already much 
attached to us. He is a quiet, sensible man, with as large 
a library as yours, — and perhaps rather larger, — well 
stored with encycloppedias, dictionaries, and histories, etc., 
all modern. The gentry of the country, titled and unti- 
tled, have all caUed or are about to call on me, and I shall 

^ These letters, under the title of tion to No. III. of " Farmers," "In 

"Monopolists" and " Farmers, " ap- what manner they are afPected by 

peared in the Morning Post, Octo- the War " Essays on His Own Times, 

bar 3-9, 1800. Coleridge wrote the ii. 413—4.50 ; Thomas Poole and his 

first of the series, and the introduc- Friends, ii. 15, 16. 

336 A LAKE POET [Oct. 

have free access to the magnificent library of Sir Gilfrid 
Lawson. I wish you could come here in October after 
your harvesting, and stand godfather at the christening 
of my child. In October the country is in all its blaze of 

We are well and the Wordsworths are well. The two 
volumes of the " Lyrical Ballads " will appear in about a 
fortnight or three weeks. Sara sends her best kind love 
to your mother. How much we rejoice in her health I 
need not say. Love to Ward, and to Chester, to whom I 
shall write as soon as I am at leisure. I was standing at 
the very top of Skiddaw, by a little shed of slate stones 
on which I had scribbled with a bit of slate my name 
among the other names. A lean-expression-faced man 
came up the hill, stood beside me a little while, then, on 
running over the names, exclaimed, " Coleridge ! I lay my 
life that is the i^oet Coleridge I " 

God bless you, and for God's sake never doubt that I 
am attached to you beyond all other men. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Thiirsday nig-lit, October 9, 1800. 

My dear Davy, — I was right glad, glad with a stag- 
ger of the heart, to see your writing again. Many a mo- 
ment have I had all my France and England curiosity 
suspended and lost, looking in the advertisement front 
column of the " Morning Post Gazeteer " for 3Ir. Davy^s 
Galvanic hahitudes of charcoal. — Upon my soul I be- 
lieve there is not a letter in those words round which a 
world of imagery does not circumvolve ; your room, the 
garden, the cold bath, the moonlight rocks, Barristed, 
Moore, and simple-looking Frere, and dreams of wonderful 
things attached to your name, — and Skiddaw, and Glara- 
mara, and Eagle Crag, and you, and Wordsworth, and me, 
on the top of them ! I pray you do write to me imme- 

Greta Hall, Keswick 

1800] TO SIR H. DAVY 337 

diately, and tell me what you mean by the possibility of 
your assuming a new occupation. Have you been suc- 
cessful to the extent of your expectations in your late 
chemical inquiries ? 

As to myself, I am doing little worthy the relation. 
I write for Stuart in the " Morning Post," and I am 
compelled by the god Pecunia — which was one name of 
the supreme Jupiter — to give a volume of letters from 
Germany, which will be a decent lounge book, and not 
an atom more. The " Christabel " was running up to 
1,300 lines,^ and was so much admired by Wordsworth, 
that he thought it indelicate to print two volumes with 
his name, in which so much of another man's was in- 
cluded ; and, which was of more consequence, the poem 
was in direct opposition to the very purpose for which 
the lyrical ballads were published, viz., an experiment to 
see how far those passions which alone give any value to 
extraordinary incidents were capable of interesting, in and 
for themselves, in the incidents of common life. We 
mean to publish the " Christabel," therefore, with a long 
blank-verse poem of Wordsworth's, entitled " The Ped- 
lar." 2 I assure you I think very differently of " Christa- 
bel." I would rather have written " Ruth," and " Nature's 
Lady," than a million such poems. But why do I calum- 
niate my own spirit by saying " I would rather " ? God 
knows it is as delightful to me that they are written. 
I Tcnoiu that at present, and I hope that it loill he so ; 
my mind has disciplined itself into a willing exertion of 
its powers, without any reference to their comparative 

1 It is impossible to explain this it ever existed, has never come to 

statement, which was repeated in a light. See Mr. Dykes Campbell's 

letter to Josiah Wedgwood, dated valuable and exhaustive note on 

November 1, 1800. The printed "Christabel," Poetical Works, pp. 

" Christabel," even including the con- 601-607. 

elusion to Part it., makes only 677 ^ A former title of " The Excur- 

lines, and the discarded portion, if sion." 

338 A LAKE POET [Oct. 

I cannot speak favourably of W.'s health, but, indeed, 
he has not done common justice to Dr. Beddoes's kind 
prescriptions. I saw his covmtenance darken, and all his 
hopes vanish, when he saw the prescriptions — his scepti- 
cism concerning medicines ! nay, it is not enough scep- 
ticism ! Yet, now that peas and beans are over, I have 
hopes that he will in good earnest make a fair and full 
trial. I rejoice with sincere joy at Beddoes's recovery. 

Wordsworth is fearful you have been much teased by 
the printers on his account, but you can sympathise with 
him. The works which I gird myself up to attack as 
soon as money concerns will permit me are the Life of 
Lessing, and the Essay on Poetry. The latter is still 
more at my heart than the former : its title would be an 
essay on the elements of poetry, — it would be in reality 
a disguised system of morals and politics. When you 
write, — and do write soon, — tell me how I can get your 
essay on the nitrous oxide. If you desired Johnson to 
have one sent to Lackington's, to be placed in Mr. Cros- 
thwaite's monthly parcel for Keswick, I should receive it. 
Are your galvanic discoveries important? What do 
they lead to ? All this is idtra-crejjiclatioji, but would to 
Heaven I had as much knowledge as I have sympathy ! 

My wife and children are well ; the baby was dying 
some weeks ago, so the good i:)eople would have it bap- 
tized ; his name is Derwent Coleridge,^ so called from the 

1 " Sunday night, half past ten, sion here recorded." he writes, " I 

September 14, 1800, a boy born had eleven convulsion fits. At last 

(Bracy). my father took my mother gently 

" September 27, 1800. The child out of the room, and told her that 

being very ill was baptized by the she must make up her mind to lose 

name of Derwent. The child, hour this child. By and by she heard 

after hour, made a noise exactly like the nurse lulling me, and said she 

the creaking of a door which is be- would try once more to give me the 

ing shut very slowly to prevent its breast." She did so ; and from that 

creaking." (MS.) S. T. C. time all went weU, and the child 

My father's life was saved by his recovered, 
mother's devotion. " On the occa- 

1800] TO SIR H. DAVY 339 

river, for, fronting our house, the Greta runs into the Der- 
went. Had it been a girl the name should have been 
Greta. By the bye, Greta, or rather Grieta, is exactly 
the Cocytus of the Greeks. The word, literally rendered 
in modern English, is "the loud lamenter;" to griet in 
the Cambrian dialect, signifying to roar aloud for grief or 
pain, and it does roar with a vengeance ! I will say 
nothing about spring — a thirsty man tries to think of 
anything but the stream when he knows it to be ten miles 
off ! God bless you ! 

Your most affectionate S. T. Coleridge. 


October 18, 1800. 
My DEAR Davy, — Our mountains northward end in 
the mountain Carrock, — one huge, steep, enormous bulk 
of stones, desolately variegated with the heath plant ; at 
its foot runs the river Calder, and a narrow vale between it 
and the mountain Bowscale, so narrow, that in its greatest 
width it is not more than a furlong. But that narrow vale 
is 80 green, no beautiful, there are moods in which a man 
might weep to look at it. On this mountain Carrock, 
at the summit of which are the remains of a vast Druid 
circle of stones, I was wandering, when a thick cloud 
came on, and wrapped me in such darkness that I could 
not see ten yards before me, and with the cloud a storm 
of wind and hail, the like of which I had never before 
seen and felt. At the very summit is a cone of stones, 
built by the shepherds, and called the Carrock Man. 
Such cones are on the tops of almost all our mountains, 
and they are all called men. At the bottom of the Carrock 
Man I seated myself for shelter, but the wind became so 
fearful and tyrannous, that I was apprehensive some of 
the stones might topple down upon me, so I groped my 
way farther down and came to three rocks, placed on 
this wise, ^/^, each one supported by the other like a 

340 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

child's house of cards, and in the hollow and screen which 
they made I sate for a long while sheltered, as if I had 
been in my own study in which I am now writing : there 
I sate with a total feeling worshipping the power and 
" eternal link " of energy. The darkness vanished as by 
enchantment ; far off, far, far off to the south, the moun- 
tains of Glaramara and Great Gable and their family 
appeared distinct, in deepest, sablest hlue. I rose, and 
behind me was a rainbow bright as the brightest. I de- 
scended by the side of a torrent, and passed, or rather 
crawled (for I was forced to descend on all fours), by 
many a naked waterfall, till, fatigued and hungry (and 
with a finger almost broken, and which remains swelled 
to the size of two fingers), I reached the narrow vale, and 
the single house nestled in ash and sycamores. I entered 
to claim the universal hospitality of this country ; but 
instead of the life and comfort usual in these lonely 
houses, I saw dirt, and every appearance of misery — a 
pale woman sitting by a peat fire. I asked her for bread 
and milk, and she sent a small child to fetch it, but did 
not rise herself. I eat very heartily of the black, sour 
bread, and drank a bowl of milk, and asked her to per- 
mit me to pay her. " Nay," says she, "' we are not so 
scant as that — you are right welcome ; but do you know 
any help for the rheumatics, for I have been so long ail- 
ing that I am almost fain to die?" So I advised her to 
eat a great deal of mustard, having seen in an advertise- 
ment something about essence of mustard curing the 
most obstinate cases of rheumatism. Bvit do write me, 
and tell me some cure for the rheumatism ; it is in her 
shoulders, and the small of her back chiefly. I wish 
much to go off with some bottles of stuff to the poor 
creature. I should walk the ten miles as ten yards. 
With love and honour, my dear Davy, 

Yours, S. T. Coleridge. 

1800] TO SIR H. DAVY 341 


Greta Hall, Tuesday night, December 2, 1800. 
My dear Davy, — By an accident I did not receive 
jour letter till this evening, I would that you had added 
to the account of your indisposition the probable causes 
of it. It has left me anxious whether or no you have not 
exposed yourself to unwholesome influences in your chem- 
ical pursuits. There are few beings both of hope and 
performance, but few who combine the " are " and the 
"will be." For God's sake, therefore, my dear fellow, 
do not rip open the bird that lays the golden eggs. I 
have not received your book. I read yesterday a sort of 
medical review about it. I suppose Longman will send 
it to me when he sends down the " Lyrical Ballads " to 
Wordsworth. I am solicitous to read the latter part. 
Did there appear to you any remote analogy between the 
case I translated from the German Magazine and the 
effects produced by your gas ? Did Carlisle ^ ever com- 
municate to you, or has he in any way published his facts 
concerning pain which he mentioned when we were with 
him ? It is a subject which exceedingly interests me. I 
want to read something by somebody expressly on pain, 
if only to give an arrangement to my own thoughts, 
though if it were well treated I have little doubt it would 
revolutionize them. For the last month I have been 
trembling on through sands and swamps of evil and 
bodily grievance. My eyes have been inflamed to a de- 
gree that rendered reading and writing scarcely possible ; 
and, strange as it seems, the act of metre composition, as 
I lay in bed, perceptibly affected them, and my voluntary 
ideas were every minute passing, more or less transformed 
into vivid spectra. I had leeches repeatedly applied to 
my temples, and a blister behind my ear — and my eyes 
are now my own, but in the place where the blister was, 
^ Afterwards Sir Anthony, the distinguished surgeon, 1768-1840. 

342 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

six small but excruciating boils have appeared, and harass 
me almost beyond endurance. In the mean time my dar- 
ling Hartley has been taken with a stomach illness, which 
has ended in the yellow jaundice ; and this greatly alarms 
me. So much for the doleful ! Amid all these changes, 
and humiliations, and fears, the sense of the Eternal 
abides in me, and preserves unsubdued my cheerful faith, 
that all I endure is full of blessings ! 

At times, indeed, I would fain be somewhat of a more 
tangible utility than I am ; but so I suppose it is with all 
of us — one while cheerful, stirring, feeling in resistance 
nothing but a joy and a stimulus ; another while dxowsy, 
self-distrusting, prone to rest, loathing our own self- 
pi"omises, withering our own hopes — our hopes, the 
vitality and cohesion of our being ! 

I purpose to have " Christabel " published by itself — 
this I publish with confidence — but my travels in Ger- 
many come from me now with mortal pangs. Nothing 
but the most pressing necessity could have induced me — 
and even now I hesitate and tremble. Be so good as to 
have all that is printed of " Christabel " sent to me per 

Wordsworth has nearly finished the concluding poem. 
It is of a mild, unimposing character, but full of beauties 
to those short-necked, men who have their hearts suffi- 
ciently near their heads — the relative distance of which 
(according to citizen Tourdes, the French translator of 
Spallanzani) determines the sagacity or stupidity of all 
bipeds and quadrupeds. 

There is a deep blue cloud over the heavens ; the lake, 
and the vale, and the mountains are all in darkness ; 
only the summits of all the mountains in long ridges, 
covered with snow, are bright to a dazzling excess. A 
glorious scene ! Hartley was in my arms the other even- 
ing, looking at the sky ; he saw the moon glide into a 
large cloud. Shortly after, at another part of the cloud, 

1800] TO THOMAS POOLE 343 

several stars sailed in. Says he, " Pretty creatures I 
they are going in to see after their mother moon." 

Remember me kindly to King. Write as often as you 
can ; but above all things, my loved and honoured dear 
fellow, do not give up the idea of letting me and Skiddaw 
see you. God love you ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Tobin writes me that Thompson i has made some lucra- 
tive discovery. Do you know aught about it? Have 
you seen T. Wedgwood since his return ? 


Greta Hall, Keswick, Saturday night, December 5, 1800. 

My dearest Friend, — I have been prevented from 
answering your last letter entirely by the state of my 
eyes, and my wish to write more fully to you than their 
weakness would permit. For the last month and more I 
have indeed been a very crazy machine^ . . . That con- 
sequence of this long-continued ill-health which I most 
" regret is, that it has thrown me so sadly behindhand in 
the performance of my engagements with the bookseller, 
that I almost fear I shall not be able to raise money 
enough by Christmas to make it prudent for me to jour- 
ney southward. I shall, however, try hard for it. My 
plan was to go to London, and make a faint trial whether 
or no I could get a sort of dramatic romance, which I 
had more than half finished, upon the stage, and from 
London to visit Stowey and GunviUe. Dear little Hart- 
ley has been ill in a stomach complaint which ended in 
the yellow jaundice, and frightened me sorely, as you may 
weU believe. But, praise be to God, he is recovered and 
begins to look like himself. He is a very extraordinary 

^ According to Dr. Davy, the ed- ence is to the late Mr. James Thomp- 
itor of Fragmentary Remains of Sir son of Clitheroe. 
H. Davy, London, 1858, the refer- 

344 A LAKE POET [Feb. 

creature, and if lie live will, I doubt not, prove a great 
genius. Derwent is a fat, pretty child, healthy and hun- 
gry. I deliberated long whether I should not call him 
Thomas Poole Coleridge, and at last gave up the idea 
only because your nephew is called Thomas Poole, and 
because if ever it should be my destiny once again to live 
near you, I believed that such a name would give pain to 
some branches of your family. You will scarcely exact 
a very severe account of what a man has been doing who 
has been obliged for days and days together to keep his 
bed. Yet I have not been altogether idle, having in my 
own conceit gained great light into several parts of the 
human mind which have hitherto remained either wholly 
unexplained or most falsely explained. To one resolution 
I am wholly made up, to wit, that as soon as I am a free- 
man in the world of money I will never write a line for 
the express purpose of money (but only as believing it 
good and useful, in some way or other). Although I am 
certain that I have been greatly improving both in know- 
ledge and power in these last twelve months, yet still at 
times it presses upon me with a painfid weight that I have 
not evidenced a more tangible utility. I have too much 
trifled with my reputation. You have conversed much 
with Davy ; he is delighted wdth you. 'What do you think 
of him ? Is he not a great man, think you ? . . . I and 
my wife were beyond measure delighted by your account 
of your mother's health. Give our best, kindest loves to 
her. Charles Lloyd has settled at Ambleside, sixteen 
miles from Keswick. I shall not see him. If I cannot 
come, I will write you a very, very long letter, contain- 
ing the most important of the many thoughts and feel- 
ings which I want to communicate to you, but hope to do 
it face to face. 

Give my love to Ward, and to J. Chester. How is 
poor old Mr. Rich and his wife ? 

God have you ever in his keeping, making life tranquil 

1801] TO SIR H. DAVY 345 

to you. Believe me to be what I have been ever, and am, 
attached to you one degree more at least than to any other 
living man. 

S. T, Coleridge. 


February 3, 1801. 

Mt dear Davy, — I can scarcely reconcile it to my 
conscience to make you pay postage for another letter. 
Oh, what a fine unveiling of modern politics it would be 
if there were published a minute detail of all the sums 
received by government from the post establishment, and 
of all the outlets in which the sums so received flowed out 
again ! and, on the other hand, all the domestic affections 
which had been stifled, all the intellectual progress that 
would have been, but is not, on account of the heavy tax, 
etc., etc. The letters of a nation ought to be paid for as 
an article of national expense. Well ! but I did not take 
up this paper to flourish away in splenetic politics. A 
gentleman resident here, his name Calvert,^ an idle, good- 
hearted, and ingenious man, has a great desire to com- 
mence fellow-student with me and Wordsworth in chem- 

^ William, the elder brother of worth may have had her father in 
Raisley Calyert, who left Words- his mind. Of this we may be sure, 
worth a legacy of nine hundred that neither Coleridge nor Words- 
pounds. In that mysterious poem, worth had " inventions rare," or dis- 
" Stanzas written in my Pocket Copy played beetles under a microscope, 
of Thomson's Castle of Indolence," it It is evident that Hartley Coleridge, 
would seem that Wordsworth begins who said " that his father's charac- 
with a blended portrait of himself ter and habits are here [that is, in 
and Coleridge, and ends with a blend- these stanzas] preserved in a livelier 
ed portrait of Coleridge and William way than in anything that has been 
Calvert. Mrs. Joshua Stanger (Mary written about him," regarded the 
Calvert) maintained that " the large first and not the second half of the 
gray eyes " and " low-hung lip " poem as a description of S. T. C. 
were certainly descriptive of Cole- " The Last of the Calverts," Corn- 
ridge and cotild not apply to her hill Magazine, May, 1890, pp. 494r- 
father ; but she admitted that, in 520. 
other parts of the poem. Words- 

346 A LAKE POET [Feb, 

istry. He is an intimate friend of Wordsworth's, and lie 
has proposed to W. to take a house which he (Calvert) 
has nearly built, called Windy Brow, in a delicious situa- 
tion, scarce half a mile from Greta Hall, the residence of 
S. T. Coleridge, Esq., and so for him (Calvert) to live 
with them, that is, Wordsworth and his sister. In this 
case he means to build 9, little laboratory, etc. Words- 
worth has not cpiite decided, but is strongly inclined to 
adopt the scheme, because he and his sister have before 
lived with Calvert on the same footing, and are much 
attached to him ; because my health is so precarious and 
so much injured by wet, and his health, too, is like little 
potatoes, no great things, and therefore Grasmere (thir- 
teen miles from Keswick) is too great a distance for us 
to enjoy each other's society without inconvenience, as 
much as it would be profitable for us both ; and, likewise, 
because he feels it more necessaiy for him to have some 
intellectual j)ursuit less closely connected with deep pas- 
sion than poetry, and is of course desirous, too, not to be so 
wholly ignorant of knowledge so exceedingly important. 
However, whether Wordsworth come or no, Calvert and 
I have determined to begin and go on. Calvert is a man 
of sense and some originality, and is, besides, what is well 
called a handy man. He is a good practical mechanic, 
etc., and is desirous to lay out any sum of money that is 
necessary. You know how long, how ardently I have 
wished to initiate myself in chemical science, both for its 
own sake and in no small degree likewise, my beloved 
friend, that I may be able to sympathise with all that you 
do and think. Sympathise blindly with it all I do even 
wo?f', God knows ! from the very middle of my heart's 
heart, but I would fain sjanpathise with you in the light 
of knowledge. This opportunity is exceedingly precious 
to me, as on my own account I could not afford the least 
additional expense, having been already, by long and suc- 
cessive illnesses, thrown behindhand so much that for the 

1801] TO SIR H. DAVY 347 

next four or five months I fear, let me work as hard as I 
can, I shall not be able to do what my heart within me 
hums to do, that is, to concentre my free mind to the affin- 
ities of the feelings with words and ideas under the title 
of " Concerning Poetry, and the nature of the Pleasures 
derived from it." I have faith that I do understand the 
subject, and I am sure that if I write what I ought to 
do on it, the work would supersede all the books of meta- 
physics, and all the books of morals too. To whom shall 
a young man utter his pride, if not to a young man 
whom he loves ? 

I beg you, therefore, my dear Davy, to write me a long 
letter when you are at leisure, informing me : Firstly, 
What books it will be well for me and Calvert to pur- 
chase. Secondly, Directions for a convenient little lab- 
oratory. Thirdly, To what amount apparatus would run 
in expense, and whether or no you would be so good as 
to superintend its making at Bristol. Fourthly, Give 
me your advice how to begin. And, fifthly, and lastly, 
and mostly, do send a drojJ of hope to my parched tongue, 
that you will, if you can, come and visit me in the spring. 
Indeed, indeed, you ought to see this country, this beau- 
tiful country, and then the joy you would send into me ! 

The shape of this paper will convince you with what 
eagerness I began this letter ; I really did not see that it 
was not a sheet. 

I have been thinldng vigorously during my illness, so 
that I cannot say that my long, long wakeful nights 
have been all lost to me. The subject of my meditations 
has been the relations of thoughts to things ; in the lan- 
guage of Hume, of ideas to impressions, I may be truly 
described in the words of Descartes: I have been "res 
cogitans, id est, dubitans, affirmans, negans, pauca intelli- 
gens, multa ignorans, volens, nolens, imaginans etiam, et 
sentiens." I please myself with believing that you will re- 
ceive no small pleasure from the result of these broodings, 

348 A LAKE POET [March 

althougli I expect in you (in some points) a determined 
opponent, but I say of my mind in this respect : " Manet 
imperterritus ille liostem magnanimum ojDperiens, et mole 
sua stat." Every poor fellow has his proud hour some- 
times, and this I supj)ose is mine. 

I am better in every respect than I was, but am still 
very feehle. The weather has been woefully against me 
for the last fortnight, having rained here almost inces- 
santly. I take quantities of bark, but the effect is (to ex- 
press myself with the dignity of science) ic= 0000000, and 
I shall not gather strength, or that little suffusion of bloom 
which belongs to my healthy state, till I can walk out. 

God bless you, my dear Davy ! and your ever affection- 
ate friend, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. An electrical machine, and a number of little 
knickknacks connected with it, Mr. Calvert has. — Write. 


Monday. March 16, 1801. 

My dear Friend, — The interval since my last letter 
has been filled up by me in the most intense study. If I 
do not greatly delude myself, I have not only completely 
extricated the notions of time and space, but have over- 
thrown the doctrine of association, as taught by Hartley, 
and with it all the irreligious metaphysics of modern infi- 
dels — especially the doctrine of necessity". This I have 
done ; but I trust that I am about to do more — namely, 
that I shall be able to evolve all the five senses, that is, 
to deduce them from one sense, and to state their growth 
and the causes of their difference, and in this evolvement 
to solve the process of life and consciousness. / ivrite 
this to you only, and I pray you, mention tvJiat I have 
written to no one. At Wordsworth's advice, or rather 
fervent entreaty, I have intermitted the pursuit. The 


intensity of thought, and the number of minute experi- 
ments with light and figure, have made me so nervous 
and feverish that I cannot sleep as long as I ought and 
have been used to do ; and the sleep which I have is made 
up of ideas so connected, and so little different from the 
operations of reason, that it does not afford me the due 
refreslnnent. I shall therefore take a week's respite, and 
make " Christabel " ready for the press ; which I shall 
publish by itself, in order to get rid of all my engagements 
with Longman. My German Book I have suffered to 
remain suspended chiefly because the thoughts which had 
employed my sleepless nights during my illness were im- 
perious over me ; and though poverty was staring me in 
the face, yet I dared behold my image miniatured in the 
pupil of her hollow eye, so steadily did I look her in the 
face ; for it seemed to me a suicide of my very soul to 
divert my attention from truths so important, which came 
to me almost as a revelation. Likewise, I cannot express 
to you, dear Friend of my heart ! the loathing which I 
once or twice felt when I attempted to write, merely for 
the bookseller, without any sense of the moral utility of 
what I was writing. I shall therefore, as I said, immedi- 
ately publish my " Christabel," with two essays annexed to 
it, on the "Preternatural" and on "Metre." — This done, I 
shall propose to Longman, instead of my Travels (which, 
though nearly done, I am exceedingly anxious not to pub- 
lish, because it brings me forward in a perso7ial way, as 
a man who relates little adventures of himself to amuse 
people, and thereby exposes me to sarcasm and the malig- 
nity of anonymous critics, and is, besides, heneath ?ne^ . . ,) 
I shall propose to Longman to accept instead of these 
Travels a work on the originality and merits of Locke, 
Hobbes, and Hume, which work I mean as a j^ionee?' to 
my greater work, and as exhibiting a proof that I have 
not formed opinions without an attentive perusal of the 
works of my predecessors, from Aristotle to Kant. 

350 A LAKE POET [March 

I am confident that I can prove that the reputation of 
these three men has been wholly unmerited, and I have in 
what I have already written traced the whole history of 
the causes that effected this reputation entirely to Words- 
worth's satisfaction. 

You have seen, I hope, the " Lyrical Ballads." In the 
divine poem called "Michael," by an infamous blunder ^ 
of the printer, near twenty lines are omitted in page 210, 
which makes it nearly unintelligible. Wordsworth means 
to write to you and to send them together with a list of 
the nmnerous errata. The character of the " Lyrical Bal- 
lads " is very great, and will increase daily. They have 
extolled them in the " British Critic." Ask Chester (to 
whom I shall write in a week or so concerning his German 
books) for Greenough's address, and be so kind as to send 
it immediately. Indeed, I hope for a lo7i.g letter from 
you, your opinion of the L. B., the preface, etc. You 
know, I presume, that Davy is appointed Director of the 
Laboratory, and Professor at the Koyal Institution ? I 
received a very affectionate letter from him on the occa- 
sion. Love to all. We are all well, except, perhaps, my- 
self. Write ! God love you and 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Monday, March 23, 1801. 

My dear Friend, — I received your kind letter of the 
14tli. I was agreeably disappointed in finding that you 
had been interested in the letter respecting Locke. Those 
which follow are abundantly more entertaining and impor- 
tant ; but I have no one to transcribe them. Nay, three 
letters are written which have not been sent to Mr. Wedg- 

1 On page 210 of vol. ii. of the all, hegan with the words, " Though 

second edition of the Lyrical BaU nought Avas left undone." Works 

lads (1800), there is a blank space, of Wordsworth, p. 134, 11. 4-18. 
The omitted passage, fifteen lines in 




wood,^ because I have no one to transcribe them for me, 
and I do not wish to be without copies. Of that letter 
which you have I have no copy. It is somewhat unpleas- 
ant to me that Mr. Wedgwood has never answered my 
letter requesting his opinion of the utility of such a work, 
nor acknowledged the receipt of the long letter containing 
the evidences that the whole of Locke's system, as far as 
it was a system, and with the exclusion of those parts only 
which have been given up as absurdities by his warmest 
admirers, preexisted in the writings of Descartes, in a 
far more pure, elegant, and delightful form. Be not 
afraid that I shall join the party of the Little-ists. I be- 
lieve that I shall delight you by the detection of their 
artifices. Now Mr. Locke was the founder of this sect, 
himself a perfect Little-ist. 

My opinion is thus : that deep thinking is attainable only 
by a man of deep feeling, and that all truth is a species of 

^ During the preceding month 
Coleridge had busied himself with 
instituting a comparison between 
the philosopliical systems of Locke 
and Descartes. Three letters of 
prodigious length, dated February 
18, 24 (a double letter), and ad- 
dressed to Josiah Wedg^vood, em- 
bodied the result of his studies. 
They would serve, he thought, as 
a preliminary excursus to a larger 
work, and would convince the Wedg- 
woods that his wanderjahr had not 
been altogether misspent. Mr. Leslie 
Stephen, to whom this correspond- 
ence has been submitted, is good 
enough to allow me to print the fol- 
lowing extract from a letter which 
he wrote at my request : " Coleridge 
writes as though he had as yet read 
no German philosophy. I knew that 
he began a serious study of Kant at 
Keswick ; but I fancied that he had 
brought back some knowledge of 

Kant from Germany. This letter 
seems to prove the contrary. There 
is certainly none of the transcenden- 
talism of the Schelling kind. One 
point is, that he still sticks to Hart- 
ley and to the Association doctrine, 
which he afterwards denounced so 
frequently. Thus he is dissatisfied 
with Locke, but has not broken with 
the philosophy generally supposed 
to be on the Locke line. In short, 
he seems to be at the point where 
a study of Kant would be ready to 
launch him in his later direction, 
but is not at all conscious of the 
change. When he wrote the Friend 
[1809-10] he had become a Kantian. 
Therefore we must, I think, date his 
conversion later than I should have 
siipposed, and assume that it was 
the study of Kant just after this 
letter was written which brought 
about the change." 

352 A LAKE POET [March 

revelation. The more I understand of Sir Isaac Newton's 
works, the more boldly I dare utter to my own mind, and 
therefore to ycni, that I believe the souls of five hundred 
Sir Isaac Newtous would go to the making up of a Shake- 
speare or a Milton. But if it please the Almighty to grant 
me health, lio})e, and a steady mind (always the three clauses 
of my hourly prayers), before my thirtieth year I will 
thoroughly understand the whole of Newton's works. At 
present I must content myself with endeavouring to make 
myself entire master of his easier work, that on Optics. 
I am exceedingly delighted with the beauty and neatness 
of his experiments, and with the accuracy of his immedi- 
ate deductions from them ; but the opinions founded on 
these deductions, and indeed his whole theory is, I am 
persuaded, so exceedingly superficial as without impropri- 
ety to be deemed false. Newton was a mere materiaKst. 
Mind, in his system, is always passive, — a lazy Looker- 
on on an external world. If the mind be not passive, if 
it be indeed made in God's Image, and that, too, in the 
sublimest sense, the linage of the Creator, there is ground 
for suspicion that any system built on the passiveness of 
the mind must be false, as a system. I need not observe, 
my dear friend, how unutterably silly and contemptible 
these opinions would be if written to any but to another 
self. I assure you, solemnly assure jow, that you and 
Wordsworth are the only men on earth to whom I would 
have uttered a word on this subject. 

It is a rule, by which I hope to direct all my literary 
efforts, to let my opinions and my proofs go together. It 
is insolent to differ from the public ojjinion in ojnnion, if 
it be only opinion. It is sticking up little i hy itself, i 
against the whole alphabet. But one word with meaning 
in it is worth the whole alphabet together. Such is a 
sound argument, an incontrovertible fact. 

Oh, for a Lodge in a land where human life was an 
end to which labour was only a means, instead of being. 

1801] TO THOMAS POOLE 353 

as it is here, a mere means of carrying on labour. I am 
oppressed at times with a true heart-gnawing melancholy 
when I contemplate the state of my poor oppressed coun- 
try. God knows, it is as much as I can do to put meat 
and bread on my own table, and hourly some poor starving 
wretch comes to my door to put in his claim for part of it. 
It fills me with indignation to hear the croaking account 
which the English emigrants send home of America. 
" The society so bad, the manners so vulgar, the servants 
so insolent ! " Why, then, do they not seek out one another 
and make a society ? It is arrant ingratitude to talk so of 
a land in which there is no poverty bu^t as a consequence 
of absolute idleness ; and to talk of it, too, with abuse com- 
paratively with England, with a place where the laborious 
poor are dying with grass in their bellies. It is idle to 
talk of the seasons, as if that country must not needs be 
miserably governed in which an unfavourable season in- 
troduces a famine. No ! no ! dear Poole, it is our pesti- 
lent commerce, our unnatural crowding together of men 
in cities, and our government by rich men, that are bring- 
ing about the manifestations of oifended Deity. I am 
assured that such is the depravity of the public mind, that 
no literary man can find bread in England except by mis- 
employing and debasing his talents ; that nothing of real 
excellence would be either felt or understood. The annu- 
ity which I \\.o[A^ 'perhajps hy a very precarious tenure^ will 
shortly from the decreasing value of money become less 
than one half what it was when first allowed to me. If I 
were allowed to retain it, I would go and settle near 
Priestley, in America. I shall, no doubt, get a certain 
price for the two or three works which I shall next pub- 
lish, but I foresee they will not seU. The booksellers, 
finding this, will treat me as an unsuccessful author, that 
is, they will employ me only as an anonymous translator 
at a guinea a sheet. I have no doubt that I could make 
X500 a year if I liked. But then I must forego all desire 

354 A LAKE POET [May 

of truth and excellence. I say I would go to America if 
Wordsworth would go with me, and we could persuade 
two or three farmers of this country, who are exceedingly 
attached to us, to accompany us. I would go, if the diffi- 
culty of procuring sustenance in this country remain in 
the state and degree in which it is at present ; not on any 
romantic scheme, but merely because society has become a 
matter of great indifference to me. I grow daily more 
and more attached to solitude ; but it is a matter of the 
utmost importance to be removed from seeing and suffer- 
ing want. 

God love you, my dear friend. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Gketa Hall, Keswick, [May 6, 1801]. 
My dear Southey, — I wrote you a very, very gloomy 
letter ; and I have taken blame to myself for inflicting 
so much pain on you without any adequate motive. Not 
that I exaggerated anything, as far as the immediate 
present is concerned; but had I been in better health 
and a more genial state of sensation, I shoidd assuredly 
have looked out upon a more cheerful futiu'e. Since I 
wrote you, I have had another and more severe fit of ill- 
ness, which has left me weak, very weak, but with so calm 
a mind that I am determined to believe that this fit was 
honajide the last. Whether I shall be able to j)ass the 
next winter in this country is doubtful ; nor is it possible 
I should know till the fall of the leaf. At all events, you 
will (I hope and trust, and if need were, entreat^ spend 
as much of the summer and autumn with us as will be in 
your power, and if our healths should permit it, I am 
confident there will be no other solid objection to our 
living together in the same house, divided. We have 
ample room, — room enough, and more than enough, and 
I am willing to believe that the blessed dreams we dreamt 


some six years ago may be auguries of something really 
noble which we may yet perform together. 

We wait impatiently, anxiously, for a letter announcing 
your arrival. Indeed, the article Falmouth has taken pre- 
cedence of the Leading Paragraph with me for the last 
three weeks. Our best love to Edith. Derwent is the 
boast of the county ; the little river god is as beautiful as 
if he had been the child of Venus Anaduomene previous 
to her emersion. Dear Hartley ! we are at times alarmed 
by the state of his health, but at present he is well. If I 
were to lose him, I am afraid it would exceedingly deaden 
my affection for any other children I may have. 

A little child, a limber elf 

Singing, dancing to itself ; 

A faery thing with red round cheeks 

That abivsiys, finds, and nev«r seeks, 
5 Doth make a vision to the sight, 

Which fills a father's eyes with light ! 

And pleasures flow in so thick and fast 

Upon his heart that he at last 

Must needs express his love's excess 
10 In words of wrong and bitterness. 

Perhaps it is pretty to force together 

Thoughts so all unlike each other ; 

To mutter and mock a broken charm ; 

To dally with wrong that does no harm. 
15 Perhaps 't is tender, too, and pretty. 

At each wild word to feel within 

A sweet recoil of love and pity ; 

And what if in a world of sin 

(Oh sorrow and shame ! should this be true) 
20 Such giddiness of heart and brain 

Comes seldom, save from rage and pain, 

So talks as it 's most used to do.^ 

1 Nothing? is known of these lines to Part II." of " Christabel." It is 
beyond the fact that in 1816 Cole- possible that they were intended to 
ridge printed them as " Conclusion form part of a distinct poem in the 

356 A LAKE POET [July 

A very metaphysical account of fathers calling their 
children rogues, rascals, and little varlets, etc. 

God bless you, my dear Southey ! I need not say, 
Write. S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. We shall have peas, beans, turnips (with boiled 
leg of mutton), cauliflowers, French beans, etc., etc., end- 
less ! We have a noble warden. 


Wednesday, July 22, 1801. 

My dear Southey, — Yesterday evening I met a boy 
on an ass, winding down as jncturisk a glen as eye ever 
looked at, he and his beast no mean part of the picture. 
I had taken a liking to the little blackguard at a distance, 
and I could have downright hugged him when he gave 
me a letter in your handwriting. Well, God be praised ! 
I shall surely see you once more, somewhere or other. If 
it be really impracticable for you to come to me, I will 
doubtless do anything rather than not see you, though, in 
simple truth, travelling in chaises, or coaches even, for one 
day is sure to lay me up for a week. But do, do, for 
heaven's sake, come and go the shortest way, however 
dreary it be ; for there is enough to be seen when you 
get to our house. If you did but know what a flutter the 
okl moveable at my left breast has been in since I read 
your letter. I have not had such a fillip for many months. 
My dear Edith ; how glad you were to see old Bristol 
again ! ^ 

I am again climbing up that rock of convalescence 
from which I have been so often washed off and hurried 

metre of " Christabel," or, it may be, little child, the limber elf," is the 
they are the sole survival of an at- four-year-old Hartley, hardly as yet 
tempted third part of the ballad " fitting to unutterable thought, 
itself. It is plain, however, that the The breeze-like motion, and the self- 
picture is from the life, that "the born carol." 


back ; but I have been so un visually well tliese last two clays 
that I should begin to look the damsel Hope full in the 
face, instead of sheep's-eyeing her, were it not that the 
weather has been so unusually hot, and that is my joy. 
Yes, sir ! we will go to Constantinople ; but as it rains 
there, which my gout loves as the devil does holy water, 
the Grand Turk shall shew the exceeding attachment he 
will no doubt form towards us by appointing us his vice- 
roys in Egypt. I will be Supreme Bey of that shower- 
less district, and you shall be my supervisor. But for 
God's sake make haste and come to me, and let us talk 
of the sands of Arabia while we are floating in our lazy 
boat on Keswick Lake, with our eyes on massy Skiddaw, 
so green and high. Perhaps Davy might accompany you. 
Davy will remain unvitiated ; his deepest and most recol- 
lectable delights have been in solitude, and the next to 
those with one or two whom he loved. He is placed, no 
doubt, in a perilous desert of good things ; but he is con- 
nected with the present race of men by a very awful tie, 
that of being able to confer immediate benefit on them ; 
and the cold-blooded, venom-toothed snake that winds 
around him shall be only his coat of arms, as God of 

I exceedingly long to see " Thalaba," and perhaps still 
more to read " Madoc " over again. 1 never heard of any 
third edition of my poems. I think you must have con- 
fused it with the L. B. Longman could not surely be so 
uncouthly ill-mannered as not to write to me to know if I 
wished to make any corrections or additions. If I am 
well enough, I mean to alter, with a devilish sweep of 
revolution, my Tragedy, and publish it in a little volume 
by itself, with a new name, as a poem. But I have no 
heart for poetry. Alas ! alas ! how should I ? who have 
passed nine months with giddy head, sick stomach, and 
swoln knees. My dear Southey ! it is said that long sick- 
ness makes us all grow selfish, by the necessity which it 

358 A LAKE POET [July 

imposes of continuously thinking about ourselves. But 
long and sleepless nights are a fine antidote. 

Oh, how I have dreamt about you ! Times that ham 
been, and never can return, have been with me on my bed 
of pain, and how I yearned towards you in those moments. 
I myself can know only by feeling it over again. But 
come '' strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble 
knees. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and sor- 
row and sigliing shall flee away." 

I am here, in the vicinity of Durham, for the purpose of 
reading from the Dean and Chapter's Library an ancient 
of whom you may have heard. Duns Scotus ! I mean to 
set the poor old Gemman on his feet again ; and in order 
to wake him out of his present lethargy, I am burning 
Locke, Hume, and Hobbes under his nose. They stink 
worse than feather or assafoetida. Poor Joseph ! [Cottle] 
he has scribbled away both head and heart. What an af- 
fecting essay I could write on that man's character ! Had 
he gone in his quiet way on a little pony, looking about 
him with a sheep's-eye cast now and then at a short poem, 
I do verily think from many parts of the " Malvern Hill," 
that he would at last have become a poet better than many 
who have had much fame, but he would be an Epic, and so 

" Victorious o'er the Danes, I Alfred, preach, 
Of my own forces, Chaplain-General ! " 

. . . Write immediately, directmg Mr. Coleridge, Mr. 
George Hutchinson's,^ Bishop's Middleham, Rushiford, 

^ George Hutchinson, the fourth probably as agent on the estate of 

son of John Hutchinson of Penrith, the " Champion." His first resi- 

was at this time in occupation of land dence after migration was at New 

at Bishop's Middleham, the original Radnor, where he married Margaret 

home of the family. He migrated Roberts of Curnellan, but he subse- 

into Radnorshire in 1815, being then quently removed into Herefordshire, 

about the age of thirty-seven ; but where lie resided in many places, 

between that date and his leaving latterly at Kingston. He died at 

Bishop's Middleham he had resided his son's house, The Vinery, Here- 

for some time in Lincolnshire, at ford, in 1866. It would seem from 

Serivelsby, where he was engaged a letter dated July 25, 1801 (Letter 


Durham, and tell me when you set off, and I will con- 
trive and meet you at Liverpool, where, if you are jaded 
with the journey, we can stay a day or two at Dr. Cromp- 
ton's, and chat a bit with Koscoe and Curry ,i whom you 
will like as men far, far better than as writers. O Edith ; 
how happy Sara will be, and little Hartley, who uses the 
air of the breezes as skipping-ropes, and fat Derwent, so 
beautiful, and so proud of his three teeth, that there 's 
no bearing of him ! 

God bless you, dear Southey, and 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. Remember me kindly to Danvers and Mrs. Dan- 

[Care of] Mrs. Danvers, 
Kingsdown Parade, Bristol. 


Durham, Saturday, July 25, 1801. 

My dear Southey, — I do loathe cities, that 's cer- 
tain. I am in Durham, at an inn, — and that, too, I do 
not like, and have dined with a large parcel of priests all 
belonging to the cathedral, thoroughly ignorant and hard- 
hearted. I have had no small trouble in gaining permis- 
sion to have a few books sent to me eight miles from the 
place, which nobody has ever read in the memory of man. 

CXX.), that at this time Sarah as " Miss Mary Hutchinson of Wyke- 
Hutchinson kept house for her bro- ham," an adjoining parish, 
ther George, and that Mary (Mrs. [From information kindly sup- 
Wordsworth) and Joanna Hutchin- plied to me by Mr. John Hutchinson, 
son lived with their elder brother the keeper of the Library of the Mid- 
Tom at Gallow Hill, in the parish of die Temple.] 

Brompton, near Scarborough. The ^ The historian William Roscoe 

register of Brompton Church records (afterwards M. P. for Liverpool), 

the marriage of William Wordsworth and the physician James Currie, the 

and Mary Hutchinson, on October 4, editor and biographer of Burns, 

1802 ; but in the notices of marriages were at this time settled at Liver- 

in the Gentleman' s Magazine, of Oc- pool and on terms of intimacy with 

tober, 1802, the latter ia described Dr. Peter Crompton of Eaton Hall. 

360 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

Now you will think what follows a lie, and it is not. I 
asked a stupid haughty fool, who is the Librarian of the 
Dean and Chapter's Library in this city, if it had Leib- 
nitz. He answered, " We have no Museum in this Li- 
brary for natural curiosities ; but there is a Mathematical 
Listruinent setter in the town, who shews such animalcula 
through a glass of great magnifying powers." Heaven 
and earth ! he understood the word " live nitsy Well, 
I return early to-morrow to Middleham ; to a quiet good 
family that love me dearly — a young farmer and his 
sister, and he makes very droll verses in the northern dia- 
lects and in the metre of Burns, and is a great humourist, 
and the woman is so very good a woman that I have 
seldom indeed seen the like of her. Death ! that every- 
where there should be one or two good and excellent peo- 
ple like these, and that they should not have the power 
given 'em ... to whirl away the rest to Hell ! 

I do not approve the Palermo and Constantinople 
scheme, to be secretary to a fellow that would poison you 
for being a poet, while he is only a lame verse-maker. 
But verily, dear Southey ! it will not suit you to be under 
any man's control, or biddances. What if you were a 
consul ? 'T would fix you to one place, as bad as if you 
were a parson. It won't do. Now mark my scheme ! 
St. Nevis is the most lovely as well as the most healthy 
island in the W. Lidies. Finney's ^ estate is there, and 
he has a country-house situated in a most heavenly way, 
a very large mansion. Now between j^ou and me I have 
reason to believe that not only this house is at my ser- 
vice, but many advantages in a family way that would 
go one half to lessen the exjienses of living there, and 
perhaps Pinney would appoint us sinecure negro-drivers, 
at a hundred a year each, or some other snug and repu- 
table office, and, perhaps, too, we might get some office in 

1 The Bristol merchant who lent the manor-house of Racedown to Words- 
worth in 1795. 


which there is quite nothing to do under the Governor. 
Now I and my family, and you and Edith, and Words- 
worth and his sister might all go there, and make the 
Island more illustrious than Cos or Lesbos ! A heavenly 
climate, a heavenly country, and a good house. The sea- 
shore so near us, dells and rocks and streams. Do now 
think of this. But say nothing about it on account of 
old Pinney. Wordsworth would certainly go if I went. 
By the living God, it is my opinion that we should not 
leave three such men behind us. N. B. I have every 
reason to believe Keswick (and Cumberland and West- 
moreland in general) full as dry a climate as Bristol. 
Our rains fall more certainly in certain months, but we 
have fewer rainy days, taking the year through. As to 
cold, I do not believe the difference perceptible by the 
human body. But I feel that there is no relief for me 
in any part of England. Very hot weather brings me 
about in an instant, and I relapse as soon as it coldens. 

You say nothing of your voyage homeward, or the cir- 
cumstances that preceded it. This, however, I far rather 
hear from your mouth than your letters. Come ! and 
come quickly. My love to Edith, and remember me 
kindly to Mary and Martha and Eliza and Mrs. Fricker. 
My kind respects to Charles and Mrs. Danvers. Is 
Davy with you? If he is, I am sure he speaks affec- 
tionately of me. God bless you ! Write. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Scarborough, August 1, 1801. 

My dear Southey, — On my return from Durham 

(I foolishly walked back), I was taken ill, and my left 

knee swelled " pregnant with agony," as Mr. Dodsley 

says in one of his poems. Dr. Fenwick^ has earnestly 

^ In the well-known lines " On re- made to this "mild physician," who 
visiting the Sea-shore," allusion is vainly dissuaded him from bathing 

362 ' A LAKE POET [Aug. 

persuaded me to try liorse-exercise and warm sea-bathing, 
and I took the opportunity of riding with Sara Hutchin- 
son to her brother Tom, who lives near the place, where 
I can ride to and fro, and bathe with no other expense 
there than that of the bath. The fit comes on me either at 
nine at night, or two in the morning. In the former case 
it continues nine hours, in the latter five. I am often liter- 
ally sick with pain. In the daytime, however, I am well, 
surprisingly so indeed, considering how very little sleep I 
am able to snatch. Your letter was sent after me, and 
arrived here this morning, and but that my letter can 
reach you on the 5th of this month, I would immediately 
set off again, though I arrived here only last night. But 
I am unwilling not to try the baths for one week. If, 
therefore, you have not made the immediate preparation 
you may stay one week longer at Bristol. But if you 
have, you must look at the lake, and play with my babies 
three or four days, though this grieves me. I do not 
like it, I want to be with you, and to meet you even to 
the very verge of the Lake Country. I would far rather 
that you would stay a week at Grasmere (which is on the 
road, fourteen miles from Keswick), with Wordsworth, 
than go on to Keswick, and I not there. Oh, how you 
will love Grasmere ! 

All I ever wish of you with regard to wintering at 
Keswick is to stay with me till you find the climate in- 
jurious. When I read that cheerful sentence, " We will 
climb Skiddaw this year and scale Etna the next," with 
a right piteous and humorous smile did I ogle my poor 
knee, which at this present moment is larger than the 
thickest part of my thigh. 

A little Quaker girl (the daughter of the great Quaker 

in the open sea. Sea-bathing- was to a late period of his life and long 

at all times an irresistible pleasure after he had become a confirmed 

to Coleridge, and he continued the invalid. Poetical Works, p. 159. 
practice, greatly to his benefit, down 


mathematician Slee, a friend of anti-negro-trade Clarkson, 
who has a house at the foot of Ulleswater, which Slee 
Wordsworth dined with, a pretty parenthesis !), this little 
girl, four years old, happened after a very hearty meal to 
eructate^ while Wordsworth was there. Her mother 
looked at her, and the little creature immediately 2a\di for- 
mally observed : " Yan belks when yan 's fu, and when 
yan 's empty." That is, " One belches when one 's full 
and when one 's empty." Since that time this is a favour- 
ite piece of slang at Grasmere and Greta Hall, whenever 
we talk of poor Joey, George Dyer, and other persever- 
ants in the noble trade of scribbleism. 

Wrangham,! who lives near here, one of your anthology 
friends, has married again, a lady of a neat £700 a year. 
His living by the Inclosure [Act] will be something bet- 
ter than X600, besides what little fortune he had with his 
last wife, who died in the first year. His present wife's 
cousin observed, " Mr. W. is a lucky man : his present 
lady is very weakly and delicate." I like the idea of a 
man's speculating in sickly wives. It would be no bad 
character for a farce. 

That letter £ was a kind-hearted, honest, well-spoken 
citizen. The three strokes which did for him were, as I 

^ Francis Wrangham, whom Cole- He was afterwards appointed to a 
ridge once described as " admirer Canonry of York, to the Archdea- 
of me and a pitier of my political conry of Cleveland, and finally to a 
principles" (Letter to Cottle [April], prehendal stall at Chester. He pub- 
1796), was his senior by a few years, lished a volume of Poems (London, 
On failing to obtain, it is said on 1795), in which are included Cole- 
account of his advanced political ridge's Translation of the " Hende- 
views, a fellowsliip at Trinity Hall, casyllabli ad Bruntonam e Granta 
he started caking pupils at Cobham exituram," and some " Verses to Miss 
in Surrey in partnership with Basil Brunton with the preceding Trans- 
Montagu. The scheme was of short lation." He died in 1842. Poetical 
duration, for Montagu deserted tui- Works, p. 30. See, too. Editor's 
tion for the bar, and Wrangham, Note, p. 569 ; Reminiscences of Cam- 
early in life, was preferred to the bridge, by Henry Gunning, London, 
benefices of Hemmanby and Folkton, 1855, ii. 12 seq. 
iathe neighborhood of Scarborough. 

364 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

take it, (1), the Ictus Cardiacus, wMch devitalized his 
moral heart ; (2ondly) the stroke of the apoplexy in his 
head ; and (thirdly) a stroke of the palsy in his right 
hand, which produces a terrible shaking and impotence in 
the very attempt to reach his breeches pocket. O dear 
Southey ! what incalculable blessings, worthy of thanks- 
giving in Heaven, do we not owe to our being and having 
been jyoor ! No man's heart can wholly stand up against 
property. My love to Edith. 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Keswick, September 19, 1801. 

By a letter from Davy I have learnt, Poole, that your 
mother is with the Blessed. I have given her the tears 
and the pang which belong to her departure, and now she 
will remain to me forever, what she had long been — a 
dear and venerable image, often gazed at by me in imagi- 
nation, and always with affection and filial piety. She 
was the only being whom I ever felt in the relation of 
Mother ; and she is with God ! We are all with God ! 

What shall I say to you ! I can only offer a prayer of 
thanksgiving for you, that you are one who has habitu- 
ally connected the act of thought with that of feeling ; and 
that your natural sorrow is so mingled up with a sense 
of the omnipresence of the Good Agent, that I cannot 
wish it to be other than what I know it is. The frail 
and the too painful will gradually pass away from you, 
and there will abide in your spirit a great and sacred 
accession to those solemn Remembrances and faithful 
Hopes in which, and by which, the Almighty lays deep 
the foundations of our continuous Life, and distinguishes 
us from the Brutes that perish. As all things pass away, 
and those habits are broken up which constituted our own 
and particular Self, our nature by a moral instinct cher- 
ishes the desire of an unchangeable Something, and 


thereby awakens or stirs up anew tlie passion to promote 
"permanent good, and facilitates that grand business of 
our existence — still further, and further still, to general- 
ise our affections, till Existence itself is swallowed up in 
Being ^ and we are in Christ even as He is in the Father. 

It is among the advantages of these events that they 
learn us to associate a keen and deep feeling with all the 
old good phrases, all the reverend sayings of comfort and 
sympathy, that belong, as it were, to the whole human race. 
I felt this, dear Poole ! as I was about to write my old 

God bless you, and love you for ever and ever ! 
Your affectionate friend, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

Would it not be well if you were to change the scene 
awhile ! Come to me, Poole ! No — -no — no. You have 
none that love you so well as I. I write with tears that 
prevent my seeing what I am writing. 


Nether Stowey, Bkidgewater, December 31, 1801. 

Dear Southey, — On Xmas Day I breakfasted with 
Davy, with the intention of dining with you ; but I re- 
turned very unwell, and in very truth in so utter a dejec- 
tion of spirits as both made it improper for me to go 
anywhither, and a most unfit man to be with you. I left 
London on Saturday morning, 4 o'clock, and for three 
hours was in such a storm as I was never before out in, 
for I was atop of the coach — rain, and hail, and violent 
wind, with vivid flashes of lightning, that seemed almost 
to alternate with the flash-like re-emersions of the waning 
moon, from the ever-shattered, ever-closing clouds. How- 
ever, I was armed cap-a-pie in a complete panoply, namely, 
in a huge, most huge, roquelaure,. which had cost the gov- 
ernment seven guineas, and was provided for the emi- 
grants in the Quiberon expedition, one of whom, falling 

366 A LAKE POET [Feb. 

sick, stayed behind and parted with his cloak to Mr. 
Howel,^ who lent it me. I dipped my head down, shoved 
it up — and it proved a complete tent to me. I was as 
dry as if I had been sitting by the fire. I arrived at Bath 
at eleven o'clock at night, and spent the next day with 
Warren, who has gotten a very sweet woman to wife and 
a most beautiful house and situation at Whitcomb on the 
Hill over the bridge. On Monday afternoon I arrived at 
Stowey. I am a good deal better ; but my bowels are by 
no means de-revolutionized. So much for me. I do not 
know what I am to say to you of your dear mother. Life 
passes away from us in all modes and ways, in our friends, 
in ourselves. We all " die daily." Heaven knows that 
many and many a time I have regarded my talents and 
requirements as a porter's burthen, imposing on me the 
capital duty of going on to the end of the journey, when 
I would gladly lie down by the side of the road, and be- 
come the country for a mighty nation of maggots. For 
what is life, gangrened, as it is with me, in its very vitals, 
domestic tranquillit}^ ? These things being so, I confess 
that I feel for you, but not for the event, as for the event 
only by an act of thought, and not by any immediate 
sJioclc from the like feeling within myself. When I return 
to town I can scarcely tell. I have not yet made up my 
mind whether or no I shall move Devonward. My rela- 
tions wish to see me, and I wish to avoid the uueasy f eehng 
I shall have, if I remain so near them without gratifying 
the wish. No veiy brotherly mood of mind, I must con- 
fess — but it is, nine tenths of it at least, a work of their 
own doing. Poole desires to be remembered to you. Re- 
member me to your wife and Mrs. Lovell. 
God bless you and 

S. T. Coleridge. 

^ " I took a first floor for him in who I knew would nurse Coleridge 

King- Street, Covent Garden, at my as kindly as if he were her son." D. 

tailor's, Howell's, whose wife is a Stuart, Gent. Mag., May, 1838. See, 

cheerful housewife of middle ag-e, too, Letters from the Lake Poets, "p.l- 

1802] TO HIS WIFE 367 


King Street, Covent Garden, [February 24, 1802.] 
My deae Love, — I am sure it will make you happy 
to hear that both my health and spirits have greatly im- 
proved, and I have small doubts that a residence of two 
years in a mild and even climate will, with God's bless- 
ing, give me a new lease in a better constitution. You 
may be well assured that I shall do nothing raslily, but 
our journey thither I shall defray by letters to Poole and 
the Wedgwoods, or more probably addressed to Mawman, 
the bookseller, who will honour my drafts in return. Of 
course I shall not go till I have earned all the money 
necessary for the journey that I can. The plan will be 
this, unless you can think of any better. Wordsworth 
will marry soon after my return, and he, Mary, and Dor- 
othy will be our companions and neighbours. Southey 
means, if it is in his power, to pass into Spain that way. 
About July we shall all set sail from Liverpool to Bor- 
deaux. Wordsworth has not yet settled whether he shall 
be married from Gallow Hill or at Grasmere. But they 
will of course make a point that either Sarah shall be 
with Mary or Mary with Sarah previous to so long a 
parting. If it be decided that Sarah is to come to Gras- 
mere, I shall return by York, which will be but a few 
miles out of the way, and bring her. At all events, I 
shall stay a few days at Derby, — for whom, think you, 
should I meet in Davy's lecture-room but Joseph Strutt ? 
He behaved most affectionately to me, and pressed me 
with great earnestness to pass through Darley (which is 
on the road to Derby) and stay a few days at his house 
among my old friends. I assure you I was much affected 
by his kind and affectionate invitation (though I felt a 
little awkward, not knowing whom I might venture to 
ask after). T could not bring out the word " Mrs. Evans," 
and so said, "Your sister, sir ? I hope she is well I " 

368 A LAKE POET [July 

On Sunday I dined at Sir William Eush's, and on 
Monday likewise, and went with them to Mrs. Billing- 
ton's Benefit. 'T was the " Beggar's Opera ; " it was 
'perfection I I seem to have acquired a new sense by 
hearing her. I wished you to have been there. I assure 
you I am quite a man of fashion ; so many titled ac- 
quaintances and handsome carriages stopping at my door, 
and fine cards. And then I am such an exquisite judge of 
music and painting, and pass criticisms on furniture and 
chandeliers, and pay such very handsome compliments to 
all women of fashion, that I do verily believe that if I were 
to stay three months in town and have tolerable health 
and spirits, I should be a Thing in vogue, — the very ton- 
ish poet and Jemmy-Jessamy-fine-talker in town. If you 
were only to see the tender smiles that I occasionally 
receive from the Honourable Mrs. Darner ! you would 
scratch her eyes out for jealousy ! And then there 's the 

sweet (N. B. musky) Lady Charlotte ! Nay, but I 

won't tell you her name, — you might perhaps take it into 
your head to write an anonymous letter to her, and dis- 
trust our little innocent amour. 

Oh that I were at Keswick with my darlings ! My 
Hartley and my fat Derwent ! God bless you, my dear 
Sarah ! I shall return in love and cheerfulness, and 
therefore in pleasurable convalescence, if not in health. 
We shall try to get poor dear little Robert into Christ's 
Hospital ; that wretch of a Quaker will do nothing. The 
skulking rogue ! just to lay hold of the time when Mrs. 
Lovell was on a visit to Southey ; there was such low 
cunning: in the thought. 

Remember me most kindly to Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson, 
and tell Mr. «Tackson that I have not shaken a hand since 
I quitted him with more esteem and glad feeling than I 
shall soon, I trust, shake his with. God bless you, and 
your affectionate and faithful husband (notwithstanding 
the Honourable Mrs. D. and Lady Charlotte !), 


1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 369 


Gketa Hall, Keswick, Tuesday, July 13, 1802. 
My dear Sir,— I had written you a letter and was about 
to have walked to the post with it when I received yours 
from Lufe.i It gave me such lively pleasure that I threw 
my letter into the fire, for it related cliiefly to the " Erste 
Schiffer " of Gesner, and I could not endure that my first 
letter to you should hegin with a subject so little interest- 
ing to my heart or understanding. I trust that you are 
before this at the end of your journey, and that Mrs. and 
Miss Sotheby have so completely recovered themselves as 
to have almost forgotten all the fatigue except such in- 
stances of it as it may be pleasant to them to remember. 
Why need I say how often I have thought of you since 
your departure, and with what hope and pleasurable emo- 
tion ? I will acknowledge to you that your very, very 
kind letter was not only a pleasure to me, but a relief to 
my mind ; for, after I had left you on the road between 
Ambleside and Grasmere, I was dejected by the appre- 
hension that I had been tmpardonably loquacious, and 
had oppressed you, and still more Mrs. Sotheby, with my 
many words so impetuously uttered ! But in simple truth, 
you were yourselves, in part, the innocent causes of it. 
For the meeting with you, the manner of the meeting, 
your kind attentions to me, the deep and healthful delight 
which every impressive and beautiful object seemed to 
pour out upon you ; kindred opinions, kindred pursuits, 
kindred feelings in persons whose habits, and, as it were, 
walk of life, have been so different from my own, — these 
and more than these, which I would but cannot say, all 

^ Captain LufF, for many years a were frequent visitors at his house, 

resident at Patterdale, near Ulleswa- For his account of the death of 

ter, was held in esteem for the energy Charles Gough, on Helvellyn, and 

with which he procured the enrol- the fidelity of the famous spaniel, 

ment of large companies of volun- see Coleorton Letters, i. 97. Letters 

teers. Wordsworth and Coleridge from the Lake Poets, p. 131. 

370 A LAKE POET [July 

flowed in upon me with unusually strong impulses of 
pleasure, — and pleasure in a body and soul sueli as I 
happen to possess " intoxicates more than strong wine." 
However, I promise to he a much m,ore subdued creature 
when you next meet me, for I had but just recovered 
from a state of extreme dejection, brought on in part by 
ill health, partly by other circumstances ; and solitude 
and solitary musings do of themselves impregnate our 
thoughts, perhaps, with more life and sensation than wiU 
leave the balance quite even. But you, my dear sir ! 
looked at a brother poet with a brother's eyes. Oh that 
you were now in my study and saw, what is now before 
the window at which I am writing, — that rich mulberry- 
purple which a floating cloud has thrown on the lake, 
and that quiet boat making its way through it to the 
shore ! 

"We have had little else but rain and squally weather 
since you left us till within the last three days. But 
showery weather is no evil to us ; and even that most op- 
pressive of all weathers, hot, small drizzle, exhibits the 
mountains the best of any. It produced such new com- 
binations of ridges in the Lodore and Borrowdale moun- 
tains on Saturday morning that I declare, had I been 
blindfolded and so brought to the prospect, I should 
scarcely have known them again. It was a dream such as 
lovers have, — a wild and transfiguring, yet enchantingly 
lovely dream, of an object lying by the side of the sleeper. 
Wordsworth, who has walked through Switzerland, de- 
clared that he never saw anything superior, perhaps no- 
thing equal, in the Alps. 

The latter part of your letter made me truly happy. 
Uriel himself should not be half as welcome ; and indeed 
he, I must admit, was never any great favourite of mine. 
I always thought him a bantling of zoneless Italian muses, 
which Milton heard cry at the door of his imagination 
and took in out of charity. However, come as you may, 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 871 

cams miJii expectatusque venies.^ De coeteris rebus si 
quid agendum est, et quicquid sit agendum, ut quam rec- 
tissime agantur omni mea cura, opera, diligentia, gratia 

On my return to Keswick, I reperused the " Erste 
Schiffer " with great attention, and the result was an in- 
creasing disinclination to the business of translating it ; 
though my fancy was not a little flattered by the idea of 
seeing my rhymes in such a gay livery. — As poor Gior- 
dano Bruno ^ says in his strange, yet noble poem, " De 
Immenso et Innumerabili," — 

" Quam Garymedeo cultu, graphiceque venustus ! 
Narcissis referam, peramarunt me quoque Nym^phse." 

But the poem was too silly. The first conception is 
noble, so very good that I am spiteful enough to hope 
that I shall discover it not to have been original in Gesner, 
— he has so abominably maltreated it. First, the story 
is very inartificially constructed. We should have been 
let into the existence of the girl by her mother, through 
the yomig man, and after his appearance. This, how- 
ever, is comparatively a trifle. But the machinery is 
so superlatively contemptible and commonplace ; as if a 
young man could not dream of a tale which had deeply 
impressed him without Cupid, or have a fair wind all the 
way to an island without ^olus, ^olus himself is a god 
devoted and dedicated, I should have thought, to the Muse 
of Travestie. His speech in Gesner is not deficient in 
fancy, but it is a girlish fancy, and the god of the wind, 
exceedingly disquieted with animal love, makes a very 
ridiculous figure in my imagination. Besides, it was ill 
taste to introduce Cupid and ^olus at a time which we 
positively know to have been anterior to the invention 

1 Ciceronis Epist. ad Fam. iv. 10. his long philosophical poem, Jor- 

^ lb. i. 2. dani Bruni Nolani de Innumerahili- 

^ The lines are taken, with some 6ms Immenso et Injigurabili ; sen de 

alterations, from a kind of Venvoy Universo et Mundis libri octo. Fran- 

or epilogue which Bruno affixed to cofurti, 1591, p. 654. 

372 A LAKE POET [July 

and establishment of the Grecian Mythology ; and the 
speech of ^olus reminds me perpetually of little engrav- 
ings from the cut stones of the ancients, — seals, and 
whatever else they call themo Again, the girl's yearnings 
and conversations with ]iim are something between the 
nursery and the Veneris volgivagce templa, et libidinem 
spirat et suhsusurrat, dum innocenticB loquillam^ et vlr- 
ginice cogitationis dulciter offensantis luctamina simulat. 
It is not the thought that a lonely girl could have ; but 
exactly such as a boarding-school miss, whose imagination, 
to say no worse, had been somewhat stirred and heated 
by the perusal of French or German pastorals, would sup- 
pose her to say. But this is, indeed, general in the Ger- 
man and French poets. It is easy to clothe imaginary 
beings with our own thoughts and feelings ; but to send 
ourselves out of ourselves, to think ourselves into the 
thoughts and feelings of beings in circumstances wholly 
and strangely different from our own, hie labor hoc ojnis ; 
and who has achieved it ? Perhaps only Shakespeare. 
Metaphysics is a word that you, my dear sir, are no great 
friend to, but yet you will agree with me that a great 
poet must be implicite, if not explicite, a profound meta- 
physician. He may not have it in logical coherence in 
his brain and tongue, but he must have the ear of a wild 
Arab listening in the silent desert, the eye of a North 
American Indian tracing the footsteps of an enemy upon 
the leaves that strew the forest, the touch of a blind man 
feeling the face of a darling child. And do not think me 
a bigot if I say that I have read no French or German 
writer who appears to me to have a heart sufficiently pure 
and simple to be capable of this or anything like it. I 
could say a great deal more in abuse of poor Gesner's 
poems, but I have said more than I fear will be creditable 
in your opinion to my good nature. I must, though, tell 
you the malicious motto which I have written in the first 
part of Klopstock's " Messias : " — 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 373 

" Tale tuum carmen nobis, divine poeta I 
Quale sopor ! " 

Only I would have the words divine poeta translated 
" verse-making divine." I have read a great deal of Ger- 
man ; but I do dearly, dearly, dearly love my own coun- 
trymen of old times, and those of my contemporaries who 
write in their spirit. 

William Wordsworth and his sister left me yesterday 
on their way to Yorkshire. They walked yesterday to the 
foot of UUeswater, from thence they go to Penrith, and 
take the coach. I accompanied them as far as the seventh 
milestone. Among the last things which he said to me 
was, " Do not forget to remember me to Mr. Sotheby 
with whatever affectionate terms so slight an intercourse 
may permit ; and how glad we shall all be to see him 
again ! " 

I was much pleased with your description of Words- 
worth's character as it appeared to you. It is in a few 
words, in half a dozen strokes, like one of Mortimer's ^ 
figures, a fine portrait. The word " homogeneous " gave 
me great pleasure, as most accurately and haj^pily ex- 
pressing him. I must set you right with regard to my 
perfect coincidence with his poetic creed. It is most cer- 
tain that the heads of our mutual conversations, etc., and 
the passages, were indeed partly taken from note of mine ; 
for it was at first intended that the preface should be 
written by me. And it is likewise true that I warmly 
accord with Wordsworth in his abhorrence of these poetic 
licenses, as they are called, which are indeed mere tricks 
of convenience and laziness. J^x. gr. Drayton has these 
lines : — 

" Ouse having- Ouleney past, as she were waxed mad 
From her first stayder course immediately doth gad, 

* John Hamilton Mortimer, 1741- Agincourt, the Conversion of the 
1779. He painted King John grant- Britons, and other historical sub- 
ing Magna Charta, the Battle of jeets. 

374 A LAKE POET [July 

And in meandered gyres doth whirl herself about, 
That, this way, here and there, backward in and out. 
And like a wanton girl oft doubling in her gait 
In labyrinthian turns and twinings intricate," etc.^ 

The first poets, observing such a stream as this, would 
say with truth and beauty, " it strays ; " and now every 
stream shall stray, wherever it prattles on its j^ehbled way, 
instead of its bed or channel. And I have taken the in- 
stance from a poet from whom as few instances of this 
vile, commonplace, trashy style could be taken as from 
any writer [namely], from Bowles' execrable translation ^ 
of that lovely poem of Dean Ogle's (vol. ii. jd. 27}. I am 
confident that Bowles good-naturedly translated it in a 
hurry, merely to give him an excuse for printing the 
admirable original. In my opinion, every phrase, every 
metaphor, every personification, should have its justify- 
ing clause in some passion, either of the poet's mind or of 
the characters described by the poet. But metre itself 
implies a passion, that is, a state of excitement both in the 
poet's mind, and is expected, in part, of the reader ; and, 
though I stated this to Wordsworth, and he has in some 
sort stated it in his preface, yet he has not done justice to 
it, nor has he, in my opinion, sufficiently answered it. In 
my opinion, poetry justifies as poetry, independent of any 
other passion, some new combinations of langniage and 

^ Drayton's Poly-Olbion, Song 22, out their own pathos and melody. 

1-17. Bowles was a Winchester boy, and 

^ The Latin Iambics, in which Dr. Newton Ogle, then Dean of 

Dean Ogle celebrated the little Winchester, was one of his earliest 

Blyth, which ran through his fa- patrons. It was from the Dean's 

ther's park at Kirkley, near Ponte- son, his old schoolfellow, Lieutenant 

land, deserve the highest praise ; Ogle, that he claimed to have gath- 

but Bowles's translation is far from ered the particulars of Coleridge's 

being execrable. He may not have discovery at Reading and discharge 

caught the peculiar tones of the from the army. " Poems of William 

Northumbrian burn which awoke Lisle Bowles," Ga/ip-nam, 1829, p. 131; 

the memories of the scholarly Dean, " The Late Mr. Coleridge a Common 

but his irregular lines are not with- Soldier," Times, August 13, 1834. 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBT 375 

commands the omission of many others allowable in other 
compositions. Now Wordsworth, me saltern judice, has 
in his system not sufficiently admitted the former, and in 
his practice has too frequently sinned against the latter. 
Indeed, we have had lately some little controversy on the 
subject, and we begin to suspect that there is somewhere 
or other a radical difference in our opinions. Dulce est 
inter amicos rarissima dissensione C07idere plurimas con- 
sentiones, saith St. Augustine, who said more good things 
than any saint or sinner that I ever read in Latin. 

Bless me ! what a letter ! And I have yet to make a 
request to you. I have read your Georgics at a friend's 
house in the neighbourhood, and in sending for the book, 
I find that it belonged to a book-club, and has been re- 
turned. If you have a copy interleaved, or could procure 
one for me and will send it to me per coach, with a copy 
of your original poems, I will return them to you with 
many thanks in the autumn, and will endeavour to im- 
prove my own taste by writing on the blank leaves my 
feelings both of the original and your translation. Your 
poems I want for another purpose, of which hereafter. 

Mrs. Coleridge and my children are well. She desires 
to be respectfully remembered to Mrs. and Miss Sotheby. 
Tell Miss Sotheby that I will endeavour to send her soon 
the completion of the " Dark Ladie," as she was good- 
natured enough to be pleased with the first part. 

Let me hear from you soon, my dear sir ! and believe 
me with heartfelt wishes for you and yours, in every-day 
phrase, but, indeed, indeed, not with every-day feeling. 
Yours most sincerely, 

S. T. Coleridge. 

I long to lead Mrs. Sotheby to a scene that has the 
grandeur without the toil or danger of Scale Force. It 
is called the White Water Dash.^ 

1 One of a series of falls made by the Dash Beck, which dmdes the 

376 A LAKE POET [July 


Keswick, July 19, 1802. 
My dear Sir, — I trouble you with another letter to 
inform you that I have finished the First Book ^ of the 
" Erste Schiffer." It consists of 530 lines ; the Second 
Book will be a hundred lines less. I can transcribe both 
legibly in three single-sheet letters ; you will only be so 
good as to inform me whither and whether I am to send 
them. If they are likely to be of any use to Tomkins he 
is welcome to them ; if not, I shall send them to the 
" Morning Post." I have given a faithful translation in 
blank verse. To have decorated Gesner would have been, 
indeed, " to spice the spices ; " to have lopj^ed and pruned 
somewhat would have only produced incongruity ; to have 
done it sufficiently would have been to have published a 
poem of my own, not Gesner's. I have aimed at nothing 
more than purity and elegance of English, a keeping and 
harmony in the colour of the style, a smoothness without 

parishes of Caldbeck and Skiddaw is in a horse-shoe hasin of its own, 

Forest, and flows into Bassenthwaite wildly peopled with small ashes 

Lake. standing out of the rocks. Crossed 

The following minute description the beck close by the white pool, 
is from an entry in a note-book dated and stood on the other side in a corn- 
October 10, 1800: — plete spray-ram. Here it assumes, 

" The Dash itself is by no means I think, a still finer appearance. You 

equal to the Churnmilk {sic) at East- see the vast rugged net and angular 

dale {sic) or the Wytheburn Fall, points and upright cones of the black 

This I wrote standing under and rock ; the Fall assumes a variety 

seeing the whole Dash ; but when I and complexity, parts rushing in 

went over and descended to the bot- wheels, other parts perpendicular, 

torn, then I only saw the real Fall some in white horse-tails, while to- 

and the curve of the steep slope, and wards the right edge of the black 

retracted. It is, indeed, so seen, a [rock] two or three leisurely fillets 

fine thing. It falls parallel ^vith a have escaped out of the turmoil." 
fine black rock thirty feet, and is -"^ I have been unable to discover 

more shattered, more completely any trace of the MS. of this transla- 

atomized and white, than any I have tion. 
ever seen. . . . The Fall of the Dash 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 377 

monotony in the versification. If I have succeeded, as I 
trust I have, in these respects, my translation will be just 
so much better than the original as metre is better than 
prose, in their judgment, at least, who prefer blank verse 
to prose. I was probably too severe on the morals of the 
poem, uncharitable perhaps. But I am a downright En- 
glishman, and tolerate downright grossness more patiently 
than this coy and distant dallying with the appetites. 
" Die pflanzen entstehen aus dem saamen, gewisse thiere 
gehen aus dem hervor andre so, andre anders, ich hab es 
alles bemerkt, was hab ich zu thun." Now I apprehend it 
will occur to nineteen readers out of twenty, that a maiden 
so very curious, so exceedingly inflamed and harassed by 
a difficulty, and so subtle in the discovery of even com- 
paratively distant analogies, would necessarily have seen 
the difference of sex in her flocks and herds, and the mari- 
tal as well as maternal character could not have escaped 
her. Now I avow that the grossness and vulgar plain 
sense of Theocritus' shepherd lads, bad as it is, is in my 
opinion less objectionable than Gesner's refinement, which 
necessarily leads the imagination to ideas without express- 
ing them. Shaped and clothed, the mind of a pure being- 
would turn away from them from natural delicacy of taste, 
but in that shadowy half-being, that state of nascent ex- 
istence in the twilight of imagination and just on the 
vestibule of consciousness, they are far more incendiary, 
stir up a more lasting commotion, and leave a deeper 
stain. The suppression and obscurity arrays a simj)le 
truth in a veil of something like guilt, that is altogether 
meretricious, as opposed to the matronly majesty of our 
Scripture, for instance ; and the conceptions as they 
recede from distinctness of idea approximate to the nature 
oi feeling, and gain thereby a closer and more imme- 
diate affinity with the appetites. But, independently of 
this, the whole passage, consisting of precisely one fourth 
of the whole poem, has not the least influence on the 

378 A LAKE POET [July 

action of the poem, and it is scarcely too mucli to say that 
it has nothing to do with the main subject, except indeed 
it be pleaded that Love is induced by compassion for this 
maiden to make a young man dream of her, which young 
man had been, without any influence of the said Cupid, 
deeply interested in the story, and, therefore, did not need 
the interference of Cupid at all ; any more than he did the 
assistance of ^olus for a fair wind all the way to an island 
that was within sight of shore. 

I translated the poem, partly because I could not en- 
dure to appear irresolute and capricious to you in the first 
undertaking which I had connected in any way with your 
person ; in an undertaking which I connect with our jour- 
ney from Keswick to Grasmere, the carriage in which 
were your son, your daughter, and your wife (all of whom 
may God Almighty bless ! a prayer not the less fervent, 
my dear sir ! for being a little out of place here) ; and, 
partly, too, because I wished to force myself out of meta- 
physical trains of thought, which, when I wished to write 
a poem, beat up game of far other kind. Instead of a 
covey of poetic partridges with whirring wings of music, 
or wild ducks sJia^nng their rapid flight in forms always 
regular (a still better image of verse), up came a meta- 
physical bustard, urging its slow, heavy, laborious, earth- 
skimming flight over dreary and level wastes. To have 
done with poetical prose (which is a very vile Olio), sick- 
ness and some other and worse afflictions first forced me 
into downright metaphysics. For I believe that by nature 
I have more of the poet in me. In a poem written during 
that dejection, to Wordsworth, and the greater part of a 
private nature, I thus expressed the thought in language 
more forcible than harmonious : ^ — 

1 The " Ode to Dejection," of the Morning Post of October 4, 1802. 

■which this is the earliest version, was It was reprinted in the Sibylline 

composed on Sunday evening, April Leaves, 1817. A comparison of the 

4, and published six months later, in Ode, as sent to Sotheby, with the 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 

Yes, dearest poet, yes ! 
There was a time when tho' my path was rough, 
The joy within me dallied with distress. 
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff 
Whence fancy made me dreams of happiness : 


first printed version {Poetical Works, 
Appendix G, pp. 522-524) shows that 
it underwent many changes before 
it was permitted to see the " light 
of common day " in the columns of 
the Morning Post. The Ode was 
begun some three weeks after Cole- 
ridge returned to Keswick, after an 
absence of four months. He had 
■visited Southey in London, he had 
been a fellow guest with Tom 
Wedgwood for a month at Stowey, 
he had returned to London and at- 
tended Davy's lectures at the Royal 
Institution, and on his way home he 
had stayed for a fortnight with his 
friend T. Hutchinson, Wordsworth's 
brother-in-law, at Gallow Hill. 

He left Gallow Hill " on March 13 
in a violent storm of snow, wind, and 
rain," and must have reached Kes- 
wick on Sunday the 14th or Monday 
the 15th of March. On the follow- 
ing Friday he walked over to Dove 
Cottage, and once more found him- 
self in the presence of his friends, 
and, once again, their presence and 
companionship drove him into song. 
The Ode is at once a confession and 
a contrast, a confession that he had 
fled from the conflict with his soul 
into the fastnesses of metaphysics, 
and a contrast of his own hopeless- 
ness with the glad assurance of in- 
ward peace and outward happiness 
which attended the pure and manly 
spirit of his friend. 

But verse was what he had been wedded 

And his own mind did like a tempest 

Come thus to him, and drove the weary 

wight along. 

A MS. note-book of 1801-2, 
which has helped to date his move- 
ments at the time, contains, among 
other hints and jottings, the follow- 
ing almost illegible fragment : " The 
larches in spring push out their sepa- 
rate bundles of . . . into green 
brushes or pencils which . . . small 
tassels ; " — and with the note may 
be compared the following lines in- 
cluded in the version contained in 
the letter, but afterwards omitted : — 

In this heartless mood, 
To other thoughts by yonder throstle 

That pipes within the larch-tree, not unseen 
The larch that pushes out in tassels green 
Its bundled lea fits — woo''d to mild delights, 
By all the tender sounds and gentle sights 
Of this sweet primrose-month, and vainly 

woo^d ! 
O dearest Poet, in' this heartless mood — 

Another jotting in the same note- 
book : " A Poem on the endeavour 
to emancipate the mind from day- 
dreams, with the different attempts 
and the vain ones," perhaps found 
expression in the lines which follow 
" My shaping spirit of Imagination," 
which appeared for the first time in 
print in Sibylline Leaves, 1817, but 
which, as Mr. Dykes Campbell has 
rightly divined, belonged to the ori- 
ginal draft of the Ode. Poetical 
Works, p. 159. Appendix G, pp. 522- 
524. Editor's Note, pp. 626-628. 

380 A LAKE POET [July 

For Hope grew round me, like the climbing vine, 

And fruit, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine. 

But now aiSictions bow me down to earth : 

Nor care I, that they rob me of my mirth, 

But oh ! each visitation 

Suspends what nature gave me at my birth, 

My shaping spirit of Imagination. 

For not to think of what I needs must feel. 
But to be still and patient, all I can ; 
And haply by abstruse research to steal 
From my own nature all the natural man — 
This was my sole resource, my wisest plan : 
And that which suits a part infects the whole. 
And now is almost grown the temper of my soul. 

Thank heaven ! my better mind has returned to me, 
and I trust I shall go on rejoicing. As I have nothing 
better to fill the blank space of this sheet with, I will 
transcribe the introduction of that poem to you, that being 
of a sufficiently general nature to be interesting to you. 
The first lines allude to a stanza in the Ballad of Sir Pat- 
rick Spence : " Late, late yestreen I saw the new moon 
with the old one in her arms, and I fear, I fear, my master 
dear, there will be a deadly storm." 

Letter, written Sunday evening, April 4. 

Well ! if the Bard was weatherwise, who made 

The dear old Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, 

This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence 

Unrous'd by winds, that ply a busier trade 

Than that, which moulds yon clouds in lazy flakes. 

Or the dull sobbing draft, that drones and rakes 

Upon the strings of this Eolian lute, 

Which better far were mute. 

For lo ! the New Moon, winter-bright ! 

And overspread with phantom light 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 381 

(With swimming phantom light o'erspread, 
But rimmed and circled with a silver thread) 
I see the Old Moon in her lap foretelling 
The coming on of rain and squally blast ! 
And ! that even now the gust were swelling, 
And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast. 

A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear ! 

A stifling, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, 

That finds no natural outlet, no relief. 

In word, or sigh, or tear ! 

This, WUliam, well thou know'st. 

Is that sore evil which I dread the most, 

And oftnest suffer. In this heartless mood, 

To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd, 

That pipes within the larch-tree, not unseen, 

The larch, that pushes out in tassels green 

Its bundled leafits, woo'd to mild delights. 

By aU the tender sounds and gentle sights 

Of this sweet primrose-month, and vainly woo'd ! 

dearest Poet, in this heartless mood. 
All this long eve, so balmy and serene. 
Have I been gazing on the Western sky, 
And its peculiar tint of yellow-green : 

And still I gaze — and with how blank an eye ! 
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, 
That give away their motion to the stars ; 
Those stars, that glide behind them, or between, 
Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen ; 
Yon crescent moon, as fix'd as if it grew 
In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue, 
A boat becalm'd ! thy own sweet sky-canoe ! i 

1 see them all, so exquisitely fair ! 

I see, not feel ! how beautiful they are ! 

1 " A lovely skye-canoe." Morn- " My l>t"e vagrant Form of light, 

T-> _. mi c • i j-i. My gay and beautiful Canoe." 

xng Post. Ihe reference is to the ■' ^ •' 

Prologue to "Peter Bell." Com- "Wordsworth's Poetical Works, p 

pare stanza 22, 100. 

382 A LAKE POET [July 

My genial spirits fail ; 

And what can these avail, 
To lift the smoth'ring weight from off my breast ? 

It were a vain endeavour, 

Though I should gaze for ever 
On that green light that lingers in the west ; 
I may not hope from outward forms to win 
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within. 

Wordsworth ! we receive but what we give, 
And in our life alone does Nature live ; 
Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud! 
And would we aught behold, of higher worth, 
Than that inanimate, cold world, allowed 
To the poor, loveless, ever-anxious crowd, 
Ah ! from the soul itself must issue forth, 
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud 

Enveloping the earth ! 
And from the soul itself must there be sent 
A sweet and powerful voice, of its own birth, 
Of all sweet sounds the life and element ! 
O pure of heart ! thou need'st not ask of me 
What this strong music in the soul may be ? 
What and wherein it doth exist. 
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist, 
This beautiful and beauty-making Power. 
Joy, blameless poet ! Joy that ne'er was given 
Save to the pure, and in theu' purest hour, 
Joy, William, is the spirit and the power 
That wedding Nature to us gives in dower, 

A new Earth and new Heaven, 
Undream 'd of by the sensual and proud — 

We, we ourselves rejoice ! 
And thence comes all that charms or ear or sight, 
All melodies an echo of that voice ! 
AU colours a suffusion from that Hght ! 
Calm, steadfast spirit, guided from above, 
O Wordsworth ! friend of my devoutest choice, 
Great son of genius ! full of light and love, 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 383 

Thus, thus, dost thou rejoice. 
To thee do all things live, from pole to pole, 
Their life the eddying of thy living Soul ! 
Brother and friend of my devoutest choice, 
Thus mayst thou ever, ever more rejoice ! 

I have selected from the poem, which was a very long 
one and truly written only for the solace of sweet song, 
all that could be interesting or even pleasing to you, ex- 
cept, indeed, perhaps I may annex as a fragment a few- 
lines on the " ^olian Lute," it having been introduced in 
its dronings in the first stanza. I have used Yule for 

Nay, wherefore did I let it haunt my mind. 

This dark, distressful dream ? 

I turn from it and listen to the wind 

Which long has rav'd unnotic'd ! What a scream 

Of agony by torture lengthened out, 

That lute sent out ! O thou wild storm without. 

Bare crag, or Mountain Tairn, or blasted tree, 

Or pine-grove whither woodman never clomb, 

Or lonely house, long held the witches' home, 

Methinks were fitter instruments for thee 

Mad Lutanist ! that, in this month of showers, 

Of dark-brown gardens, and of peeping flowers, 

Mak'st devil's Yule, with worse than wintry song. 

The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves among ! 

Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds ! 

Thou mighty Poet, even to frenzy bold ! 

What tell'st thou now about ? 
'T is of the rushing of an host in rout, 
With many groans from men, with smarting wounds — 
At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold ! 
But hush ! there is a pause of deeper silence ! 
Again ! but all that noise, as of a rushing crowd, 
With groans, and tremulous shudderings — all is over ! 
And it has other sounds, less fearful and less loud — 

384 A LAKE POET [July 

A tale of less affright, 

And tempered with delight, 
As thou thyself had'st fram'd the tender lay — 

'T is of a little child, 

Upon a heath wild. 
Not far from home, but she has lost her way — 
And now moans low in utter grief and fear ; 
And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear. 

My dear sir ! ought I to make an apology for troubling 
you with sucli a long, verse-cramm'd letter ? Oh, that in- 
stead of it, I could but send to you the image now before 
my eyes, over Bassenthwaite. The sun is setting in a 
glorious, rich, brassy light, on the top of Skiddaw, and 
one third adown it is a buge, enormous mountain of cloud, 
with the outlines of a mountain. This is of a starchy 
grey, but floating past along it, and upon it, are various 
patches of sack-like clouds, bags and woolsacks, of a shade 
lighter than the brassy light. Of the clouds that hide the 
setting sun, — a tine yellow-red, somewhat more than 
sandy light, and these, the farthest from the sun, are suf- 
fused with the darkness of a stormy colour. Marvellous 
creatures ! how they pass along ! Eemember me with 
most respectful kindness to Mrs. and Miss Sotheby, and 
the Captains Sotheby. Truly yours, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Greta Hall, Keswick, July 29, 1802. 
My DEAR SouTiiET , — Nothing has given me half the 
pleasure, these many, many months, as last week did 
Edith's heralding to us of a minor Robert ; for that it will 
be a boy, one always takes for granted. From the bottom 
of my heart I say it, I never knew a man that better 

^ For Southey's reply, dated Bristol, August 4, 1802, see Life and Cor- 
respondence, ii. 189-192. 


deserved to be a father by right of virtues that eminently 
belonged to him, than yourself ; but beside this I have 
cheering hopes that Edith will be born again, and be a 
healthy woman. When I said, nothing had given me 
half the pleasure, I spoke tridy, and yet said more than 
you are perhaps aware of, for, by Lord Lonsdale's death, 
there are excellent reasons for believing that the Words- 
worths will gain £5,000, the share of which (and no doubt 
Dorothy will have more than a mere share) will render 
WiUiam Wordsworth and his sister quite independent. 
They are now in Yorkshire, and he returns in about a 
month one of us. . . . Estlin's Sermons, I fear, are mere 
moral discourses. If so, there is but small chance of 
their sale. But if he had published a volume of sermons., 
of the same kind with those which he has published 
singly, i. e. apologetical and ecclesiastico-historical, I am 
almost confident, they would have a respectable circula- 
tion. To publish single sermons is almost always a foolish 
thing, like single sheet quarto jjoems. Estlin's sermon 
on the Sabbath really surprised me. It was well written 
in style, I mean, and the reasoning throughout is not 
only sound, but has a cast of novelty in it, A superior 
sermon altogether it appeared to me. I am myself a little 
theological, and if any bookseller will take the risque, I 
shaU in a few weeks, possibly, send to the press a small 
volume under the title of " Letters to the British Critic 
concerning Granville Sharp's Remarks on the uses of 
the Definitive article in the Greek Text of the New 
Testament, and the Rev*^ C. Wordsworth's Six Letters, 
to G. Sharp Esq', in confirmation of the same, together 
with a Review of the Controversy between Horsley and 
Priestley respecting the faith of the Primitive Christians." 
This is no mere dream, like my " Hymns to the Ele- 
ments," for I have written more than haH the work. I 
purpose afterwards to publish a book concerning Tythes 
and Church Establishment, for I conceit that I can throw 

386 A LAKE POET [July 

great liglit on the subject. You are not apt to be much 
surprised at any change in my mind, active as it is, but it 
will perhaps please you to know that I am become very 
fond of History, and that I have read much with very 
great attention. I exceedingly like the job of Amadis 
de Gaul. I wish you may half as well like the job, in 
which I shall very shortly appear. Of its sale I have no 
doubt ; but of its prudence ? There 's the rub. " Con- 
cerning Poetry and the characteristic merits of the Poets, 
our contemporaries." One volume Essays, the second 
Selections. — The Essays are on Bloomfield, Burns, 
Bowles, Cowper, Campbell, Darwin, Hayley, Rogers, C. 
Smith, Southey, Woolcot, Wordsworth — the Selections 
from every one who has written at all, any being above 
the rank of mere scribblers — Pye and his Dative Case 
Plural, Pybus, Cottle, etc., etc. The object is not to ex- 
amine what is good in each writer, but what has ipso facto 
pleased, and to what faculties, or passions, or habits of the 
mind they may be supposed to have given pleasure. Of 
course Darwin and Wordsworth having given each a 
defence of their mode of poetry, and a disquisition on the 
nature and essence of poetry in general, I shall neces- 
sarily be led rather deeper, and these I shall treat of 
either first or last. But I will apprise you of one thing, 
that although Wordsworth's Preface is half a child of my 
own brain, and arose out of conversations so frequent that, 
with few exceptions, we could scarcely either of us, per- 
haps, positively say which first started any particular 
thought (I am speaking of the Preface as it stood in the 
second volume), yet I am far from going all lengths with 
Wordsworth. He has written lately a number of Poems 
(thirty-two in all), some of them of considerable length 
(the longest one hundred and sixty lines), the greater 
number of these, to my feelings, very excellent composi- 
tions, but here and there a darino- humbleness of lans^uaffe 
and versification, and a strict adherence to matter of fact, 


even to prolixity, that startled me. His alterations, like- 
wise, in " Ruth " perplexed me, and I have thought and 
thought again, and have not had my doubts solved by 
Wordsworth. On the contrary, I rather suspect that 
somewhere or other there is a radical difference in our 
theoretical opinions respecting poetry ; this I shall endeav- 
our to go to the bottom of, and, acting the arbitrator be- 
tween the old school and the new school, hope to lay down 
some plain and perspicuous, though not superficial canons 
of criticism respecting poetry. What an admirable defi- 
nition Milton gives, quite in an " obiter " way, when he 
says of poetry, that it is " sijujjle, sensuous, passionate 1 " 
It truly comprises the whole that can be said on the sub- 
ject. In the new edition of the L. Ballads there is a valu- 
able appendix, which I am sure you must like, and in the 
Preface itself considerable additions; one on the dignity 
and nature of the office and character of a Poet, that is 
very grand, and of a sort of Verulamian power and 
majesty, but it is, in parts (and this is the fault, me 
judice, of all the latter half of that Preface), obscure 
beyond any necessity, and the extreme elaboration and 
almost constrainedness of the diction contrasted (to my 
feelings) somewhat harshly with the general style of the 
Poems, to which the Preface is an introduction. Sara 
(why, dear Southey ! will you write it always Sarah ? 
Sara, methinks, is associated with times that you and I 
cannot and do not wish ever to forget), Sara said, with 
some acuteness, that she wished all that part of the Pre- 
face to have been in blank verse, and vice versa, etc. How- 
ever, I need not say, that any diversity of opinion on the 
subject between you and myself, or Wordsworth and my- 
self, can only be small, taken in a practical point of view. 
I rejoice that your History marches on so victoriously. 
It is a noble subject, and I have the fvdlest confidence of 
your success in it. The influence of the Catholic Reli- 
gion — the influence of national glory on the individual 

388 A LAKE POET [July 

morals of a people, especially in the downfall of the 
nobility of Portugal, — the strange fact (which seems to 
be admitted as with one voice by all travellers) of the 
vileness of the Portuguese nobles compared with the 
Spanish, and of the superiority of the Portuguese com- 
monalty to the same class in Spain ; the effects of colo- 
nization on a small and not very fruitful country ; the 
effects important, and too often forgotten of absolute acci- 
dents, such as the particular character of a race of Princes 
on a nation — Oh what awful subjects these are ! I long 
to hear you read a few chapters to me. But I conjure you 
do not let " Madoc " go to sleep. Oh that without words 
I could cause you to know all that I think, all that I feel, 
all that I hope concerning that Poem ! As to myself, aU 
my poetic genius (if ever I really possessed any genius^ 
and it was not rather a mere general aptitude of talent, 
and quickness in imitation) is gone, and I have been fool 
enough to suffer deeply in my mind, regretting the loss, 
which I attribute to my long and exceedingly severe 
metaphysical investigations, and these partly to ill-health, 
and partly to private afflictions which rendered any sub- 
jects, immediately connected with feeling, a source of pain 
and disquiet to me. 

There was a Time when tho' my Path was rough, 

I had a heart that dallied with distress ; 
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff 

Whence Fancy made me dreams of Happiness ; 
For Hope grew round me like the climbing Vine, 
And Fruits and Foliage, not my own, seemed mine ! 
But now afflictions bow me down to earth, 
Nor car'd I that they robb'd me of my mirth. 

But oh ! each visitation 
Suspends what Nature gave me at my Birth, 

My shaping Spirit of Imagination ! 

Here follow a dozen lines that would give you no pleas- 
ure, and then what follows : — 


For not to think of what I needs must feel, 
But to be still and patient, all I can ; 

And haply by abstruse Research to steal 

From my own Nature all the Natural Man, 
This was my sole Resource, my wisest Plan ! 
And that which suits a part, infects the whole, 
And now is almost grown the Temper of my Soul. 

Having written these lines, I rejoice for you as well as 
for myself, that I am able to inform you, that now for a 
long time there has been more love and concord in my 
house than I have known for years before. I had made 
up my mind to a very awful step, though the struggles of 
my mind were so violent, that my sleep became the valley 
of the shadows of Death and my health was in a state truly 
alarming. It did alarm Mrs. Coleridge. The thought of 
separation wounded her pride, — she was fully persuaded 
that deprived of the society of my children and living 
abroad without any friends I should pine away, and the 
fears of widowhood came upon her, and though these feel- 
ings were wholly selfish, yet they made her serious^ and that 
was a great point gained. For Mrs. Coleridge's mind has 
very little that is had in it ; it is an innocent mind ; but 
it is light and unimpressihle, warm in anger, cold in sym- 
pathy, and in all disputes uniformly ^roj'ec^s itself forth 
to recriminate, instead of turning itself inward with a 
silent self-questioning. Our virtues and our vices are 
exact antitheses. I so attentively watch my own nature 
that my worst self-delusion is a complete seK-knowledge 
so mixed with intellectual complacency, that my quick- 
ness to see and readiness to acknowledge my faults is too 
often frustrated by the small pain which the sight of 
them gives me, and the consequent slowness to amend 
them. Mrs. C. is so stung with the very first thought of 
being in the wrong, because she never endures to look at 
her own mind in all its faulty parts, but shelters herself 
from painful self -inquiry by angry recrimination. Never, 

390 A LAKE POET [July 

I suppose, did the stern match-maker bring together two 
minds so utterly contrariant in their primary and organ- 
ical constitution. Alas ! I have suffered more, I think, 
from the amiable propensities of my nature than from 
my worst faults and most erroneous habits, and I have 
suffered much from both. But, as I said, Mrs. Coleridge 
was made serious, and for the first time since our mar- 
riage she felt and acted as beseemed a wife and a mother 
to a husband and the father of her children. She prom- 
ised to set about an alteration in her external manners 
and looks and language, and to fight against her invet- 
erate habits of puny thwarting and unintermitting dyspa- 
thy, this immediately, and to do her best endeavours to 
cherish other feelings. I, on my part, promised to be 
more attentive to all her feelings of pride, etc., etc., and 
to try to correct my habits of impetuous censure. We 
have both kept our promises, and she has found herself 
so much more happy than she had been for years before, 
that I have the most confident hopes that this happy 
revolution in our domestic affairs will be permanent, and 
that this external conformity will gradually generate a 
greater inward likeness of thoughts and attachments than 
has hitherto existed between us. Believe me, if you were 
here, it would give you a dee]) delight to observe the dif- 
ference of our minutely conduct towards each other, from 
that which, I fear, coidd not but have disturbed your 
comfort when you were here last. Enough. But I am 
sure you have not felt it tedious. 

So Corry ^ and you are off ? I suspected it, but Edith 
never mentioned an iota of the business to her sister. It 
is well. It was not your destin}^. Wherever you are, 
God bless you ! My health is weak enough, but it is so 
far amended that it is far less dependent on the influ- 
ences of the weather. The moiuitains are better friends 

^ Tlie Rio'ht Hon. Isaac Corry, land, to whom Southey acted as 
Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ire- secretary for a short time. 


in this respect. Would that I could flatter myself that 
the same would be the case with you. The only objec- 
tion on my part is now, — God be praised ! — done away. 
The services and benefits I should receive from your 
society and the spur of your example would be incalcu- 
lable. The house consists — the first floor (or rather 
ground floor) of a kitchen and a back kitchen, a large 
parlour and two nice small parlours ; the second floor of 
three bedrooms, one a large one, and one large drawing- 
room ; the third floor or floors of three bedrooms — in 
all twelve rooms. Besides these, Mr. Jackson offers to 
make that nice outhouse or workshop either two rooms 
or one noble large one for a study if I wish it. If it 
suited you, you might have one kitchen, or (if Edith and 
Sara thought it would answer) we might have the two 
kitchens in common. You might have, I say, the whole 
ground floor, consisting of two sweet wing-rooms, com- 
manding that loveliest view of Borrowdale, and the great 
parlour ; and supposing we each were forced to have two 
servants, a nursemaid and a housemaid, the two house- 
maids would sleej) together in one of the upper rooms, 
and the nursemaids have each a room to herself, and the 
long room on the ground floor must be yours and 
Edith's room, and if Mary be with you, the other hers. 
We should have the whole second floor, consisting of the 
drawing-room, which would be Mrs. Coleridge's parlour, 
two bedrooms, which (as I am so often ill, and when ill 
cannot rest at all, iniless I have a bed to myself) is ab- 
solutely necessary for me, and one room for you if occa- 
sion should be, or any friend of j^ours or mine. The 
highest room in the house is a very large one intended 
for two, but suffered to remain one by my desire. It 
would be a capital healthy nursery. The outhouse would 
become my study, and I have a couch-bed on which I am 
now sitting (in bed) and writing to you. It is now in the 
study; of course it would be removed to the outhouse 

392 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

when that became my study, and would be a second spare 
bed. I have no doubt but that Mr. Jackson would will- 
ingly let us retain my present study, which might be your 
library and study room. My dear Southey, I merely 
state these things to you. All our lot on earth is com- 
promise. Blessings obtained by blessings foregone, or by 
evils undergone. I should be glad, no doubt, if you 
thought that your health and happiness would find a 
home under the same roof with me ; and I am sure you 
will not accuse me as indelicate or obtrusive in mention- 
ing things as they are ; but if you decline it altogether, I 
shall know that you have good reasons for doing so, and 
be perfectly satisfied, for if it detracted from your com- 
fort it could, of course, be nothing but the contrary of 
all advantage to me. You would have access to four or 
five libraries : Sir W. Lawson's, a most magnificent one, 
but chiefly in Natural History, Travels, etc. ; Carlton 
House (I am a p7'odigious favourite of Mrs. Wallis, the 
owner and resident, mother of the Privy Counsellor 
Wallis) ; Carlisle, Dean and Chapter ; the Library at 
Hawkshead School, and another (of what value I know 
not) at St, Bees, whither I mean to walk to-morrow 
to spend five or six days for bathing. It is four miles 
from Whitehaven by the seaside. Mrs. Coleridge is but 
poorly, children well. Love to Edith and May, and to 
whom I am at all interested. God love you. If you let 
me hear from you, it is among my firmest resolves — God 
ha' mercy on 'em ! — to be a regular correspondent of 

S. T. Coleridge. 

P. S. Mrs. C. must have one room on the groimd floor, 
but this is only putting one of your rooms on the second 



Monday night, August 9, 1802. 

My dear Southey, — Derwent can say Ms letters, 
and if you could but see his darling mouth when he shouts 
out Q ! This is a digression. 

On Sunday, August lst,i after morning church, I left 
Greta Hall, crossed the fields to Portinscale, went throujrh 
Newlands, where " Great Robinson looks down upon Mar- 
den's Bower," and drank tea at Buttermere, crossed the 
mountains to Ennerdale, and slept at a farm-house a little 
below the foot of the lake, spent the greater part of the 
next day mountaineering, and went in the evening through 
Egremont to St. Bees, and slept there ; returned next 
day to Egremont, and slept there ; went by the sea-coast 
as far as Gosforth, then turned off and went up Was- 
dale, and slept at T. Tyson's at the head of the vale. 
Thursday morning crossed the mountains and ascended 
Scafell, which is more than a hundred yards higher than 
either Helvellyn or Skiddaw ; spent the whole day among 
clouds, and one of them a frightening thunder-cloud ; 
slipped down into Eskdale, and there slept, and spent a 
good part of the next day ; proceeded that evening to 
Devock Lake, and slept at Ulpha Kirk ; on Saturday 
passed through the Dunnerdale Mountains to Broughton 

1 " On Sunday, August 1st, ^ after I left the besom scattered on the 
12, I had a shirt, cravat, 2 pairs of kitchen floor, off I sallied over the 
stockings, a little paper, and half bridge, through the hop - field, 
dozen pens, a German book (Voss's through the Prospect Bridge, at 
Poems), and a little tea and sugar, Portinscale, so on by the tall birch 
with my night cap, packed up in my that grows out of the centre of the 
natty green oil-skin, neatly squared, huge oak, along into Newlands." 
and put into my net knapsack, and MS. Journal of tour in the Lake 
the knapsack on my back and the District, August 1-9, 1802, sent in 
besom stick in my hand, which for the form of a letter to the Words- 
want of a better, and in spite of worths and transcribed by Miss Sar 
Mrs. C. and Mary, who both raised rah Hutchinson, 
their voices against it, especially as 

394 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

Vale, Tarver Vale, and in upon Coniston. On Sunday I 
surveyed tlie lake, etc., of Coniston, and proceeded to 
Bratlia, and slept at Lloyd's house ; this morning walked 
from Bratha to Grasmere, and from Grasmere to Greta 
Hall, where I now am, quite sweet and ablute, and have 
not even now read through your letter, which I will an- 
swer by the night's post, and therefore must defer all ac- 
count of my very interesting tour, saying only that of all 
earthly things which I have beheld, the view of Scafell 
and from Scafell (both views from its own summit) is the 
most heart-exciting. 

And now for business. The rent of the whole house, 
including taxes and the furniture we have, will not be 
under forty, and not above forty-two, pounds a year. You 
will have half the house and half the furniture, and of 
course your share will be either twenty pounds or twenty 
guineas. As to furniture, the house certainly will not be 
wholly, that is, completely furnished by Jackson. Two 
rooms we must somehow or other furnish between us, but 
not immediately ; you may pass the winter without it, and 
it is hard if we cannot raise thirty pounds in the course 
of the winter between us. And whatever we buy may be 
disposed of any Saturday, to a moral certainty, at its full 
value, or Mr. Jackson, who is imcommonly desirous that 
you should come, will take it. But we can get on for the 
winter well enough. 

Your books may come all the way from Bristol either 
to Whitehaven, Maryport, or Workington ; sometimes di- 
rectly, always by means of Liverpool. In the latter case, 
they must be sent to Whitehaven, from whence w^aggons 
come to Keswick twice a week. You will have twenty or 
thirty shillings to lay out in tin and crockery, and you 
must bring with you, or buy here (which you may do at 
eight months' credit), knives and forks, etc., and all your 
linen, from the diaper subvestments of the young jacobin ^ 

^ " The following month, September (1802), was marked by the birth 


to diaper table clotlies, sheets, napkins, etc. But these, I 
suppose, you already have. 

What else I have to say I cannot tell, and indeed shall 
be too late for the post. But I will write soon again. I 
was exceedingly amused with the Cottelism ; but I have 
not time to speak of this or of other parts of your letter. 
I believe that I can execute the criticisms with no offence 
to Hayley, and in a manner highly satisfactory to the ad- 
mirers of the poet Bloomfield, and to the friends of the 
man Bloomfield. But there are certainly other objections 
of great weight. 

Sara is well, and the children pretty well. Hartley is 
almost ill with transport at my Scafell expedition. That 
child is a poet, spite of the forehead, " villainously /o^o," 
which his mother smuggled into his face. Derwent is 
more beautiful than ever, but very backward with his 
tongue, although he can say all his letters. — N. B. Not 
out of the book. God bless you and yours ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 

If you are able to determine, you will of course let me 
know it without waiting for a second letter from me ; as 
if you determine in the affirmative ^ of the scheme, it will 
be a great motive with Jackson, indeed, a most infallible 
one, to get immediately to work so as to have the whole 
perfectly furnished six weeks at least before your arrival. 
Another reason for your writing immediately is, that we 
may lay you in a stock of coals during the summer, which is 
a saving of some pounds ; when I say determine, of course 
I mean such determination as the thousand contingencies, 
black and white, permit a wise man to make, and which 
would be enough for me to act on. 

of his first child, a daughter, named ^ Southey's reply, which was not 

after her paternal grandmother, in the affirmative, has not been pre- 

Margaret." Southey'' s Life and Cor- served. The joint-residence at Greta 

respondence, ii. 192. Hall began in September, 1803. 

396 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

Sara will write to Edith soon. 

I have just received a letter from Poole ; but I have 
found so many letters that I have opened yours only. 


Thursday, August 26, 1802. 

My dear Sir, — I was absent on a little excursion 
when your letter arrived, and since my return I have been 
waiting and making every enquiry in the hopes of an- 
nouncing the receipt of your " Orestes " and its compan- 
ions, with my sincere thanks for your kindness. But I can 
hear nothing of them. Mr. Lamb,^ however, goes to Pen- 
rith next week, and wiU make strict scrutiny. I am not 
to find the " Welsh Tour " among them ; and yet I think 
I am correct in referring the ode " Netley Abbey " to that 
collection, — a poem which I beheve I can very nearly 
repeat by heart, though it must have been four or five 
years since I last read it. I well remember that, after 
reading your " Welsh Tour," Southey observed to me that 
you, I, and himself had all done ourselves harm by suffer- 
ing an admiration of Bowles to bubble up too often on 
the surface of our poems. In perusing the second volume 
of Bowles, which I owe to your kindness, I met a line of 
my own which gave me great pleasure, from the thought 
what a pride and joy I should have had at the time of 
writing it if I had supposed it possible that Bowles would 
have adopted it. The line is, — 

Had melancholy mus'd herself to sleep.^ 

1 Charles and Mary Lamb's visit Watching the mind with tender cozenage 

to Greta Hall, which lasted three And shaping things that are not. " 
full weeks, must have extended from 

(about) Aug-ust 12 to September 2, " Coombe-Ellen, written in Rad- 

1802. Letters of Charles Lamb, i. norshire, September, 1798." " Poems 

180-184. of WilHam Lisle Bowles," Gali- 

, u TT 7 ;, 7 ^i. 7 7 -J gnani, p. 139. For " Melancholy, a 

■* Here melancholy, on tke pale crags laza, ^ ^ r ji 

Might muse herself to sleep ; ov ¥&ncy Fragment," see Poetical Works, 
come, p. 34. 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 397 

I wrote the lines at nineteen, and published them many 
years ago in the " Morning Post " as a fragment, and as 
they are but twelve lines, I will transcribe them : — 

Upon a mouldering abbey's broadest wall, 
Where ruining ivies prop tbe ruins steep — 
Her folded arms wrapping her tatter'd pall 
Had Melancholy mused herself to sleep. 

The fern was press'd beneath her hair, 
The dark green Adder's Tongue was there ; 
And still as came the flagging sea gales weak, 
Her long lank leaf bow'd fluttering o'er her cheek. 

Her pallid cheek was flush'd ; her eager look 
Beam'd eloquent in slumber ! Inly wrought, 
Imperfect sounds her moving lips forsook. 
And her bent forehead work'd with troubled thought. 

I met these lines yesterday by accident, and ill as they 
are written there seemed to me a force and distinctness 
of image in them that were buds of promise in a school- 
boy performance, though I am giving them perhaps more 
than their deserts in thus assuring them a reading from 
you. I have finished the " First Navigator," and Mr. 
Tomkins^ may have it whenever he wishes. It would be 
gratifying to me if you would look it over and alter any- 
thing you like. My whole wish and purpose is to serve 
Mr. Tomkins, and you are not only much more in the 
habit of writing verse than I am, but must needs have a 
better tact of what will offend that class of readers into 
whose hands a showy publication is likely to fall. I do 
not mean, my dear sir, to impose on you ten minutes' 
thought, but often currents oculo a better phrase or posi- 
tion of words will suggest itself. As to the ten pounds, 
it is more than the thing is worth, either in German or 
English. Mr. Tomkins will better give the true value of 
it by kindly accepting what is given with kindness. Two 
1 I have not been able to verify this reference. 

398 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

or three copies presented in my name, one to each of the 
two or three friends of mine who are likely to be pleased 
with a fine book, — this is the utmost I desire or will 
receive. I shall for the ensuing quarter send occasional 
verses, etc., to the " Morning Post," under the signature 
"Ea-TTja-e, and I mention this to you because I have some 
intention of translating Voss's " Idylls " in English hex- 
ameter, with a little prefatory essay on modern hexame- 
ters. I have discovered that the poetical parts of the 
Bible and the best parts of Ossian are little more than 
slovenly hexameters, and the rhythmical prose of Gesner 
is still more so, and reads exactly like that metre in Boe- 
thius' and Seneca's tragedies, which consists of the latter 
half of the hexameter. The thing is worth an experi- 
ment, and I wish it to be considered merely as an experi- 
ment. I need not say that the greater number of the 
verses signed "Eo-rv/o-e will be such as were never meant 
for anything else but the peritura charta of the " Morn- 
ing Post." 

I had written thus far when your letter of the 16th 
arrived, franked on the 23d from Weymouth, ^\\ih. a po- 
lite apology from Mr. Bedingfell (if I have rightly deci- 
phered the name) for its detention. I am vexed I did not 
write immediately on my return home, but I waited, day 
after day, in hopes of the " Orestes," etc. It is an old 
proverb that " extremes meet," and I have often regretted 
that I had not noted down as they 2»curred the inter- 
esting instances in which the proverb is verified. The 
newest subject, though brought from the planets (or as- 
teroids) Ceres and Pallas, could not excite my curiosity 
more than " Orestes." I will write immediately to Mr. 
Clarkson, who resides at the foot of Ulleswater, and beg 
him to walk into Penrith, and ask at all the inns if any 
parcel have arrived ; if not, I will myself write to Mr. 
Faulder and inform him of the failure. There is a sub- 
ject of great merit in the ancient mythology hitherto un- 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 399 

touched — I believe so, at least. But for the mode of the 
death, which mingles the ludicrous and terrible, but which 
might be easily altered, it is one of the finest subjects for 
tragedy that I am acquainted with. Medea, after the 
murder of her children [having] fled to the court of the 
old King Pelias, was regarded with superstitious horror, 
and shunned or insulted by the daughters of Pelias, till, 
hearing of her miraculous restoration of ^son, they con- 
ceived the idea of recalling by her means the youth of their 
own father. She avails herself of their credulity, and so 
works them up by pretended magical rites that they 
consent to kill their father in his sleep and throw him 
into the magic cauldron. Which done, Medea leaves them 
with bitter taunts of triumph. The daughters are called 
Asteropsea, Autonoe, and Alcestis. Ovid alludes briefly 
to this story in the couplet, — 

" Quid referam Pelise natas pietate nocentes, 
Csesaque virginea membra paterna manu ? " 

Ovid, Epist. XII. 129, 130. 

What a thing to have seen a tragedy raised on this fable 
by Milton, in rivalry of the " Macbeth " of Shakespeare ! 
The character of Medea, wandering and fierce, and in- 
vested with impunity by the strangeness and excess of her 
guilt, and truly an injured woman on the other hand and 
possessed of supernatural powers ! The same story is told 
in a very different way by some authors, and out of their 
narrations matter might be culled that would very well 
coincide with and fill up the main incidents — her impos- 
ing the sacred image of Diana on the priesthood of lolcus, 
and persuading them to join with her in inducing the 
daughters of Pelias to kill their father ; the daughters 
under the persuasion that their father's youth would be 
restored, the priests under the faith that the goddess re- 
quired the death of the old king, and that the safety of 
the country depended on it. In this way Medea might be 
suffered to escape under the direct protection of the priest- 




hood, who may afterwards discover tlie delusion. The 
moral of the piece would be a very fine one. 

Wordsworth wrote a very animated account of his dif- 
ficulties and his joyous meeting with you, which he calls 
the happy rencontre or fortunate rainstorm. Oh! that 
you had been with me during a thunder-storm ^ on Thurs- 
day, August the 3d ! I was sheltered (in the phrase of 
the country, loionded') in a sort of natural porch on the 
summit of Sea Fell, the central mountain of our Giants, 
said to be higher than Skiddaw or Helvellyn, and in 
chasm, naked crag, bursting springs, and waterfall the 
most interesting, without a rival. When the cloud passed 
away, to my right and left, and behind me, stood a great 
national convention of mountains which our ancestors 
most descriptively called Copland, that is, the Land of 
Heads. Before me the mountains died away down to the 
sea in eleven parallel ridges ; close under my feet, as it 

^ " my God ! what enormous 
mountains there are close by me, 
and yet below the hill I stand on. 
. . . And here I am, lounded [i. e., 
sheltered], — so fully lounded, — 
that though the wind is strong and 
the clouds are hastening hither from, 
the sea, and the whole air seaward 
has a lurid look, and we shall cer- 
tainly have thunder, — yet here (but 
that I am hungered and provision- 
less), here 1 coiild be warm and wait, 
methinks, for to-morrow's sun — 
and on a nice stone table am I now 
at this moment writing to you — be- 
tween 2 and 3 o'clock, as I guess. 
Surelj' the first letter ever written 
from the top of Sea Fell." 

After the thunder - storm I 
shouted out all your names in the 
sheep-fold — where echo came upon 
echo, and then Hartley and Der- 
went, and then I laughed and 
shouted Joanna. It leaves all the 

echoes I ever heard far, far behind, 
in number, distinctness and human- 
ness of voice ; and then, not to for- 
get an old friend, I made them all 
say Dr. Dodd etc." MS, Journal, 
August 6, 1S02. Compare Lamb's 
Latin letter of October 9, 1802 : — 

'' Ista tua Carmina Chamouniana 
satis grandia esse mihi constat ; sed 
hoc mihi nonnihil displicet, quod in 
iis illffi montium Grisosonum inter 
se responsiones totidem reboant an- 
glic^, God, God, baud aliter atque 
temet audivi tuas [sic] montes Cum- 
brianas [sic] resonare docentes, Tod, 
Tod, nempe Doctorem infelicem : 
vocem certe haud Deum sonantem." 
Letters of Charles Lamh, i. 185. See, 
too, Canon Ainger's translation and 
note, ibid. p. 331. See, also. Southey's 
Letter to Grosvenor Bedford, Janu- 
ary 9, 1804. Life and Correspond- 
ence, ii. 248. 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 401 

were, were three vales : Wastdale, with its lake ; Miter- 
dale and Eskdale, with the rivers Irt, Mite, and Esk seen 
from their very fountains to their fall into the sea at Ea- 
venglass Bay, which, with these rivers, form to the eye 
a perfect trident. 

Turning round, I looked through Borrowdale out upon 
the Derwentwater and the Vale of Keswick, even to my 
own house, where my own children were. Indeed, I had 
altogether a most interesting walk through Newlands to 
Buttermere, over the fells to Ennerdale, to St. Bees ; up 
Wastdale to Sea Fell, down Eskdale to Devock Lake, 
Ulpha Kirk, Broughton Mills, Tarver, Coniston, Winder- 
mere, Grasmere, Keswick. If it would entertain you, I 
would transcribe my notes and send them you by the first 
opportunity. I have scarce left room for my best wishes 
to Mrs. and Miss Sotheby, and affectionate wishes for 
your happiness and all who constitute it. 

With unfeigned esteem, dear sir. 

Yours, etc., S. T. Coleeidge. 

P. S. ^ am ashamed to send you a scrawl so like in 
form to a servant wench's first letter. You will see that 
the first half was written before I received your last letter. 


Greta Hall, Keswick, September 10, 1802. 
My DEAR Sir, — The books have not yet arrived, and 
I am wholly unable to account for the delay. I suspect 
that the cause of it may be Mr. Faulder's mistake in send- 
ing them by the Carlisle waggon. A person is going to 
Carlisle on Monday from this place, and will make dili- 
gent inquiry, and, if he succeed, still I cannot have them 
in less than a week, as they must return to Penrith and 
there wait for the next Tuesday's carrier. I ought, per- 
haps, to be ashamed of my weakness, but I must confess I 
have been downright vexed by the business. Every cart, 

402 . A LAKE POET [Sept. 

every return-chaise from Penrith has renewed my hopes, 
till I began to play tricks with my own impatience, and say, 
" Well, I take it for granted that I shan't get them for 
these seven days," etc., — with other of those half -lies that 
fear begets on hope. Yoti have imposed a pleasing task 
on me in requesting the minutise of my opinions concern- 
ing your " Orestes." Whatever these opinions may be, 
the disclosure of them will be a sort of map of my mind, 
as a poet and reasoner, and my curiosity is strongly ex- 
cited. I feel you a man of genius in the choice of the 
subject. It is my faith that the genus h^ritahile is a 
phrase applicable only to bad poets. Men of great genius 
have, indeed, as an essential of their composition, great 
sensibility, but they have likewise great confidence in their 
own powers, and fear must always precede anger in the 
human mind. I can with truth say that, from those I 
love, mere general praise of anything I have written is as 
far from giving me pleasure as mere general censure ; in 
anything, I mean, to which I have devoted much time or 
effort. " Be minute, and assign your reasons often, and 
your first impressions always, and then blame or praise. 
I care not which, I shall be gratified." These are my 
sentiments, and I assuredly believe that they are the senti- 
ments of all who have indeed felt a true call to the min- 
istry of song. Of course, I, too, will act on the golden rule 
of doing to others what I wish others to do imto me. But, 
while I think of it, let me say that I should be much con- 
cerned if you applied this to the " First Navigator." It 
would absolutely mortify me if you did more than look 
over it, and when a correction suggested itself to you, take 
your pen and make it, and let the copy go to Tomkins. 
What they have been, I shall know when I see the thing 
in print ; for it must please the present times if it please 
any, and you have been far more in the fashionable world 
than I, and must needs have a finer and surer tact of that 
which will offend or disgust in the higher circles of life. 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 403 

Yet it is not what I should have advised Tomkins to do, 
and that is one reason why I cannot and will not accept 
more than a brace of copies from him. I do not like to 
be associated in a man's mind with his losses. If he have 
the translation gratis, he must take it on his own judg- 
ment ; but when a man pays for a thing, and he loses by 
it, the idea will creep in, spite of himself, that the failure 
was in part owing to the badness of the translation. 
While I was translating the " Wallenstein," I told Long- 
man it would never answer ; when I had finished it I 
wrote to him and foretold that it would be waste paper 
on his shelves, and the dullness charitably laid upon my 
shoulders. Longman lost two hundred and fifty pounds 
by the work, fifty pounds of which had been paid to me, 
— poor pay. Heaven knows ! for a thick octavo volume of 
blank verse ; and yet I am sure that Longman never 
thinks of me but " Wallenstein " and the ghosts of his 
departed guineas dance an ugly waltz round my idea. 
This would not disturb me a tittle, if I thought well of 
the work myself. I should feel a confidence that it would 
win its way at last ; but this is not the case with Gesner's 
" Der erste Schiffer." It may as well lie here till Tom- 
kins wants it. Let him only give me a week's notice, and 
I will transmit it to you with a large margin. Bowles's 
stanzas on " Navigation " ^ are among the best in that sec- 
ond volume, but the whole volume is wofully inferior to 
its predecessor. There reigns through all the blank verse 
poems such a perpetual trick of moralizing everything, 
which is very weU, occasionally, but never to see or de- 
scribe any interesting appearance in nature without con- 
necting it, by dim analogies, with the moral world proves 
faintness of impression. Nature has her proper interest, 
and he will know what it is who believes and feels that 
everything has a life of its own, and that we are all One 

1 "The Spirit of Nayigation and Discovery." "Bowles's Poetical 
Works," Galignani, p. 142. 

404 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

Life. A poet's heart and intellect should be comhined^ 
intimately combined and unified with the great appear- 
ances of nature, and not merely held in solution and loose 
mixture with them, in the shape of formal similes. I do 
not mean to exclude these formal similes ; there are moods 
of mind in which they are natural, pleasing moods of 
mind, and such as a poet will often have, and sometimes 
express ; but they are not his highest and most appropri- 
ate moods. They are " sermoni propriora," which I once 
translated " properer for a sermon." The truth is, 
Bowles has indeed the sensibility of a poet, but he has not 
the passion of a great poet. His latter writings all want 
native passion. Milton here and there sujDj^lies him with 
an appearance of it, but he has no native passion because 
he is not a thinker, and has probably weakened his in- 
tellect by the haunting fear of becoming extravagant. 
Young, somewhere in one of his prose works, remai'ks 
that there is as profound a logic in the most daring and 
dithyrambic parts of Pindar as in the " Organon " of 
Aristotle. The remark is a valuable one. 

Poetic feelings, like the flexuous boughs 
Of mighty oaks ! yield homage to the gale, 
Toss in the strong winds, drive before the gust, 
Themselves one giddy storm of fluttering leaves ; 
Yet, all the while, self-limited, remain 
Equally near the fix'd and parent trunk 
Of truth in nature — in the howling blast, 
As in the calm that stills the aspen grove. ^ 

That this is deep in our nature, I felt when I was on 
Scafell. I involuntarily poured forth a hymn ^ in the man- 

^ These lines form part of the ^ The " Hymn before Sunrise in 

poem addressed "To Matilda Be- the Vale of Chamouni " was first 

tham. From a Stranger." The date printed in the JlforwtVig' Pos^, Septem- 

of composition was September 9, ber 11, 1802. It was reprinted in 

1802, the day before they were the original issue of The Friend, No. 

quoted in the letter to Sotheby. xi. (October 16, 1809, pp. 174-176), 

Poetical Works, p. 168. and again in Sibylline Leaves, 1817. 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 405 

ner of the Psalms, though afterwards I thought the ideas, 
etc., disproportionate to our humble mountains. , . . You 
will soon see it in the " Morning Post," and I should be 
glad to know whether and how far it pleased you. It 
has struck me with great force lately that the Psalms 
afford a most complete answer to those who state the 
Jehovah of the Jews, as a personal and national God, and 
the Jews as differing from the Greeks only in calling the 
minor Gods Cherubim and Seraphim, and confining the 
word " God " only to their Jupiter. It must occur to 
every reader that the Greeks in their religious poems 
address always the Numina Loci, the Genii, the Dryads, 
the Naiads, etc., etc. All natural objects were dead, mere 
hollow statues, but there was a Godkin or Goddessling 
included in each. In the Hebrew poetry you find nothing 
of this poor stuff, as poor in genuine imagination as it is 
mean in intellect. At best, it is but fancy, or the aggre- 
gating faculty of the mind, not imagination or the modi- 
fying and coadunating faculty. This the Hebrew poets 
appear to me to have possessed beyond all others, and 

As De Quincey was the first to point from the scenery of Westmoreland 

out, Coleridge was indebted to the and Cumberland. 

Swiss poetess, Frederica Brvin, for He was but twenty-six when he 

the framework of the poem and for visited Ottery for the last time. It 

many admirable lines and images, was in his thirty-fifth year that he 

but it was his solitary walk on Sea- bade farewell to Stowey and the 

fell, and the consequent uplifting of Quantoeks, and after he was turned 

spirit, which enabled him ' ' to create forty he never saw Grasmere or Kes- 

the dry bones of the German out- wick again. Ill health and the res 

line into the fulness of life." angusta domi are stern gaolers, but, 

Coleridge will never lose his title if he had been so minded, he would 

of a Lake Poet, but of the ten years have found a way to revisit the pleas- 

during which he was nominally resi- ant places in which he had passed 

dent in the Lake District, he was ab- his youth and early manhood. In 

sent at least half the time. Of his truth, he was well content to be a 

greater poems there are but four, the dweller in " the depths of the huge 

second part of " Christabel," the city" or its outskirts, and, like 

"Dejection: an Ode," the "Pic- Lamb, he "could not live in Skid- 

ture," and the " Hymn before Sun- daw." Poetical Works, p. 165, and 

rise," which take their colouring Editor's Note, pp. 629, 630. 

406 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

next to them the English. In the Hebrew poets each 
thing has a life of its own, and yet they are all our life. 
In God they move and live and have their being ; not had,, 
as the cold system of Newtonian Theology represents, but 
have. Great pleasure indeed, my dear sir, did I receive 
from the latter part of your letter. If there be any two 
subjects which have in the very depths of my nature 
interested me, it has been the Hebrew and Christian 
Theology, and the Theology of Plato. Last winter I 
read the Parmenides and the Timgeus with great care, and 
oh, that you were here — even in this howling rainstorm 
that dashes itself against my windows — on the other 
side of my blazing fire, in that great armchair there ! I 
guess we should encroach on the morning ere we parted. 
How little the commentators of Milton have availed 
themselves of the writings of Plato, Milton's darling ! 
But alas, commentators only hunt out verbal parallelisms 
— numen abest. I was much impressed with this in all 
the many notes on that beautiful passage in " Comus " 
from 1. 629 to 641. All the puzzle is to find out what 
plant Hsemony is ; which they discover to be the English 
spleenwort, and decked out as a mere play and licence of 
poetic fancy with all the strange properties suited to the 
purpose of the drama. They thought little of Milton's 
platonizing spirit, who wrote nothing without an interior 
meaning. " Where more is meant than meets the ear," 
is true of himself beyond all writers. He was so great a 
man that he seems to have considered fiction as profane 
unless where it is consecrated by being emblematic of 
some truth. What an unthinking and ignorant man we 
must have supposed Milton to be, if, without any hidden 
meaning, he had described it as growing in such abun- 
dance that the dull swain treads on it daily, and yet as 
n&\Qv flowering. Such blunders Milton of all others was 
least likely to commit. Do look at the passage. Apply 
it as an allegory of Christianity, or, to speak more pre- 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 407 

cisely, of the Redemption by the Cross, every syllable is 
full of light I " A small unsightly root:' — " To the 
Greeks folly, to the Jews a stumbling-block " — " The leaf 
was darhish and had prickles on it " — " If in this life 
only we have hope, we are of all men the most miserable," 
and a score of other texts. " But in another country^ as 
he said, Bore a hricjht golden flower " — " The exceeding 
weight of glory prepared for us hereafter " — " But not in 
this soil ; Unhnoion and like esteemed and the dull swain 
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon " — The prom- 
ises of Redemption offered daily and hourly, and to all, 
but accepted scarcely by any — " He called it Hcemonyr 
Now what is Hsemony ? aljcta Qlvo<i, Blood-wine. " And 
he took the wine and blessed it and said, ' This is my 
Blood,' " — the great symbol of the Death on the Cross. 
There is a general ridicule cast on all allegorising of 
poets. Read Milton's j)rose works, and observe whether 
he was one of those who joined in this ridicule. There is 
a very curious passage in Josephus [De Bello Jud. 6, 7, 
cap. 25 (vi. § 3)] which is, in its literal meaning, more 
wild and fantastically absurd than the passage in Milton ; 
so much so, that Lardner quotes it in exultation and says 
triumphantly, " Can any man who reads it think it any 
disparagement to the Christian Religion that it was not 
embraced by a man who would believe such stuff as this ? 
God forbid that it should affect Christianity, that it is not 
believed by the learned of this world ! " But the passage 
in Josephus, I have no doubt, is wholly allegorical. 

"Eo-TT^o-e signifies " He hath stood," ^ which, in these 

^ Coleridge must have presumed in proclaiming his unswerving alle- 
on the ignorance of Sotheby and of gianee to fixed principles. The in- 
his friends generally. He could itials S. T. C, Grecised and mis- 
hardly have passed out of Boyer's translated, expressed this pleasing 
hands without having learned that delusion, and the Greek, " Punic 
"Eo-Trjo-e signifies, " He hath placed," [sc. punnic] Greek," as he elsewhere 
not " He hath stood." But, like calls it, might run the risk of de- 
most people who have changed their tection. 
opinions, he took an especial pride 

408 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

times of apostasy from the principles of freedom or of 
religion in this country, and from both by the same per- 
sons in France, is no unmeaning signature, if subscribed 
with humility, and in the remembrance of " Let him that 
stands take heed lest he fall I " However, it is, in truth, 
no more than S. T. C. written in Greek — Es tee see. 

Pocklington will not sell his house, but he is ill, and 
perhaps it may be to be sold, but it is sunless all winter. 
God bless you, and S. T. Coleridge. 

Greta Hall, Keswick, Tuesday, September 27, 1802. 
Mt DEAR Sir, — The river is full, and Lodore is full, 
and silver-fillets come out of clouds and glitter in every 
ravine of all the mountains ; and the hail lies like snow, 
upon their tops, and the impetuous gusts from Borrow- 
dale snatch the water up high, and continually at the 
bottom of the lake it is not distinguishable from snow 
slanting before the wind — and under this seeming snow- 
drift the sunshine gleams^ and over all the nether half of 
the Lake it is bright and dazzles, a cauldron of melted 
silver boiling ! It is in very truth a sunny, misty, cloudy, 
dazzling, howling, omniform day, and I have been look- 
ing at as pretty a sight as a father's eyes could well see — 
Hartley and little Derwent running in the green where 
the gusts blow most madly, both with their hair floating 
and tossing, a miniature of the agitated trees, below 
which they were playing, inebriate both with the pleas- 
ure — Hartley whirling round for joy, Derwent eddying, 
half -willingly, half by the force of the gust, — driven 
backward, struggling forward, and shouting his little 
hymn of joy. I can write thus to you, my dear sir, with 
a confident spirit ; for when I received your letter on the 
22nd, and had read the " family history," I laid down 
the sheet upon my desk, and sate for half an hour think- 
ing of you, dreaming of you, till the tear grown cold 

1802] TO W. SOTHEBY 409 

upon my cheek awoke me from my reverie. May you 
live long, long, thus blessed in your family, and often, 
often may you all sit around one fireside. Oh happy 
should I be now and then to sit among you — your pilot 
and guide in some of your summer walks ! 

" Frigidus ut sylvis Aquilo si increverit, aut si 
Hiberni pluviis dependent nubibus imbres, 
Nos habeat domus, et multo Lar luceat igne. 
Ante foeum mihi parvus erit, qui ludat, lulus, 
Blanditias f erat, et nondum constantia verba ; 
Ipse legam magni tecum monumenta Platonis ! " 

Or, what would be still better, I could talk to you (and, if 
if you were here now, to an accompaniment of winds that 
would well suit the subject) instead of writing to you con- 
cerning your " Orestes." When we talk we are our own 
living commentary, and there are so many running notes 
of look, tone, and gesture, that there is small danger of 
being misunderstood, and less danger of being imperfectly 
understood — in writing ; but no ! it is foolish to abuse a 
good substitute because it is not all that the original is, — 
so I will do my best and, believe me, I consider this letter 
which I am about to write as merely an exercise of my 
own judgment — a something that may make you better 
acquainted, perhaps, with the architecture and furniture of 
my mind, though it will probably convey to you little or 
nothing that had not occurred to you before respecting 
your own tragedy. One thing I beg solicitously of you, 
that, if anywhere I appear to speak positively, you will 
acquit me of any correspondent feeling. I hope that it is 
not a frequent feeling with me in any case, and, that if it 
appear so, I am belied by my own warmth of manner. 
In the present instance it is impossible. I have been too 
deeply impressed by the work, and I am now about to 
give you, not criticisms nor decisions, but a history of my 
impressions, and, for the greater part, of my first impres- 
sions, and if anywhere there seem anything like a tone 

410 A LAKE POET [Nov. 

of warmth or dogmatism, do, my dear sir, be kind enough 
to regard it as no more than a way of conveying to you 
the toJiole of my meaning ; or, for I am writing too seri- 
ously, as the dexterous toss, necessary to turn an idea out 
of its pudding-bag, round and unbroken. 

[No signature.] 

Several pages of minute criticisms on Sotheby's 
" Orestes " form part of the original transcript of the 


St. Clear, Caermaethen, Tuesday, November 16, 1802. 

My dear Love, — I write to you from the New 
Passage, Saturday morning, November 13. We had a fa- 
vourable passage, dined on the other side, and proceeded 
in a post-chaise to Usk, and from thence to Abergavenny, 
where we supped and slept and breakfasted — a vile 
supper, vile beds, and vile breakfast. From Abergavenny 
to Brecon, through the vale of Usk, I believe, nine- 
teen miles of most delightful country. It is not indeed 
comparable with the meanest part of our Lake Country, 
but hills, vale, and river, cottages and woods are nobly 
blended, and, thank Heaven, I seldom permit my past 
greater pleasures to lessen my enjoyment of present 
charms. Of the things which this nineteen miles has in 
common with our whole vale of Keswick (which is about 
nineteen miles long), I may say that the two vales and 
the two rivers are equal to each other, that the Keswick 
vale beats the Welsh one all hollow in cottages, but is as 
much surpassed by it in woods and timber trees. I am 
persuaded that every tree in the south of England has 
three times the number of leaves that a tree of the same 
sort and size has in Cumberland or Westmoreland, and 
there is an incomparably larger number of very large 
trees. Even the Scotch firs luxuriate into beauty and 
pluminess, and the larches are magnificent creatures in- 

1802] TO HIS WIFE 411 

deed, in S. Wales. I must not deceive you, however, 
with all the advantages. S. Wales, if you came into it 
with the very pictures of Keswick, Ulleswater, Grasmere, 
etc., in your fancy, and were determined to hold them, 
and S. Wales together with all its richer fields, woods, 
and ancient trees, would needs appear flat and tame as 
ditchwater. I have no firmer persuasion than this, that 
there is no place in our island (and, saving Switzer- 
land, none in Europe perhaps), which really equals the 
vale of Keswick, including Borrowdale, Newlands, and 
Bassenthwaite. O Heaven ! that it had but a more 
genial climate ! It is now going on for the eighteenth 
week since they have had any rain here, more than a few 
casual refreshing showers, and we have monopolized the 
rain of the whole kingdom. From Brecon to Trecastle — 
a churchyard, two or three miles from Brecon, is belted 
by a circle of the largest and noblest yews I ever saw — 
in a belt, to wit ; they are not so large as the yew in 
Borrowdale or that in Lorton, but so many, so large and 
noble, I never saw before — and quite glowing with those 
heavenly - coloured, silky - pink - scarlet berries. From 
Trecastle to Llandovery, where we found a nice inn, an 
excellent supper, and good beds. From Llandovery to 
Llandilo — from Llandilo to Caermarthen, a large town all 
whitewashed — the roofs of the houses all whitewashed ! 
a great town in a confectioner's shop, on Twelfth-cake- 
Day, or a huge snowpiece at a distance. It is nobly 
situated along a hill among hills, at the head of a very 
extensive vale. From Caermarthen after dinner to St. 
Clear, a little hamlet nine miles from Caermarthen, three 
miles from the sea (the nearest seaport being Llangan, 
pronounced Lame, on Caermarthen Bay — look in the 
map), and not quite a hundred miles from Bristol. The 
country immediately round is exceedingly bleak and 
dreary — just the sort of country that there is around 
Shurton, etc. But the inn, the Blue Boar, is the most 

412 A LAKE POET [Nov. 

comfortable little public-house I was ever in. Miss S. 
Wedgwood left us this morning (we arrived here at half 
past four yesterday evening) for Crescelly, Mr. Allen's 
seat (the Mrs. Wedgwood's father), fifteen miles from 
this place, and T. Wedgwood is gone out cock-shooting, 
in high glee and spirits. He is very much better than I 
expected to have found him — he says, the thought of my 
coming, and my really coming so immediately, has sent a 
new life into him. He will be out all the mornings. 
The evenings we chat, discuss, or I read to him. To me 
he is a delightful and instructive companion. He pos- 
sesses the finest^ the subtlest mind and taste I have ever 
yet met with. His mind resembles that miniature in my 
" Three Graves : " ^ — 

A small blue sun ! and it has got 

A perfect glory too ! 
Ten thousand hairs of colour'd light, 
Make up a glory gay and bright, _ 

Round that small orb so blue ! 

I continue in excellent health, compared with my state 
at Keswick. ... I have now left off beer too, and will 
persevere in it. I take no tea ; in the morning coffee, 
with a teaspoonf ul of ginger in the last cup ; in the after- 
noon a large cup of ginger-tea, and I take ginger at twelve 
o'clock at noon, and a glass after supper. I find not the 
least inconvenience from any quantity, however large. I 
dare say I take a large table-spoonful in the course of the 
twenty-four hours, and once in the twenty-four hours (but 
not always at the same time) I take half a grain of puri- 

1 Parts in. and IV. of the " Three "A small blue sun " became ' ' A tiny 

Graves " were first published in The sun," and for " Ten thousand hairs 

Friend, No. vi. Sept. 21, 1809. Parts of colour'd light " Coleridge sub- 

I. and II. were published for the first stituted " Ten thousand hairs and 

time in The Poetical Works of Samuel threads of light." See Poetical 

Taylor Coleridge, Macmillan, 1893. Works, p. 92, and Editor's Note, pp. 

The final version of this stanza (11. 589-591. 
609-513) differs from that in the text. 

1802] TO HIS WIFE 413 

fied opium, equal to twelve drops of laudanum, whieli is 
not more than an eighth part of what I took at Keswick, 
exclusively of beer, brandy, and tea, which last is im- 
doubtedly a pernicious thing — all which I have left ojBf, 
and will give this regimen a fair^ coinplete trial of one 
month, with no other deviation than that I shall some- 
times lessen the opiate, and sometimes miss a day. But 
I am fully convinced, and so is T. Wedgwood, that to 
a person with such a stomach and bowels as mine, if any 
stimulus is needful, opium in the small quantities I now 
take it is incomparably better in every respect than beer, 
wine, spirits, or any fermented liquor, nay, far less per- 
nicious than even tea. It is my 'particular wish that 
Hartley and Derwent should have as little tea as possi- 
ble, and always very weak, with more than half milk. 
Eead this sentence to Mary, and to Mrs. Wilson. I 
should think that ginger-tea, with a good deal of milk 
in it, would be an excellent thing for Hartley. A tea- 
spoonful piled up of ginger would make a potful of tea, 
that would serve him for two days. And let him drink 
it half milk. I dare say that he would like it very well, 
for it is pleasant with sugar, and tell him that his dear 
father takes it instead of tea, and believes that it will 
make his dear Hartley grow. The whole kingdom is 
getting ginger-mad. My dear love ! I have said nothing 
of Italy, for I am as much in the dark as when I left 
Keswick, indeed much more. For I now doubt very 
much whether we shall go or no. Against our going you 
must place T. W.'s improved state of health, and his ex- 
ceeding dislike to continental travelling, and horror of 
the sea, and his exceeding attachment to his family ; for 
our going, you must place his past experience, the tran- 
siency of his enjoyments, the craving after change, and 
the effect of a cold winter, especially if it should come on 
wet or sleety. His determinations are made so rapidly, 
that two or three days of wet weather with a raw cold air 

414 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

miglit have such an effect on his spirits, that he might 
go off immediately to Naples, or perhaps for Teneriffe, 
which latter place he is always talking about. Look out 
for it in the Encyclopaedia. Again, these latter causes 
make it not impossible that the pleasure he has in me as 
a companion may languish. I must subscribe myself in 

Your dear husband, S. T. Coleridge. 

The mail is waiting. 


Ckescelly, near Narbarth, Pembrokeshire, 
December 7, 1802. 

My DEAR Friend, — I took the liberty of desiring 
Mrs. Coleridge to direct a letter for me to you, fully 
expecting to have seen you ; but I passed rapidly through 
Bristol, and left it with Mr. Wedgwood immediately — 
I literally had no time to see any one. I hope, however, 
to see you on my return, for I wish very much to have 
some hours' conversation with you on a subject that will 
not cease to interest either of us while we live, at least, 
and I trust that is a synonym of " for ever ! " . . . Have 
you seen my different essays in the " Morning Post " ?^ — 
the comparison of Imperial Rome and France, the " Once 
a Jacobin, always a Jacobin," and the two letters to Mr. 
Fox ? Are my politics yoirrs ? 

Have you heard lately from America ? A gentleman 
informed me that the progress of religious Deism in the 
middle Provinces is exceedingly rapid, that there are 
numerous congregations of Deists, etc., etc. Would to 
Heaven this were the case in France ! Surely, religious 
Deism is infinitely nearer the religion of our Saviour than 
the r/ross idolatry of Popery, or the more decorous, but 
not less genuine, idolatry of a vast majority of Protest- 

^ The six essays to which he calls Essays on His Own Times, ii. 478— 
Estlin's attention are reprinted in 685. 


ants. If there be meaning in words, it appears to me 
that the Quakers and Unitarians are the only Christians, 
altogether pure from Idolatry, and even of these I am 
sometimes jealous, that some of the Unitarians make too 
much an Idol of their one, God. Even the worship of 
one God becomes Idolatry in my convictions, when, in- 
stead of the Eternal and Omnipresent, in whom we live 
and move and Tia've our Being, we set up a distinct Jeho- 
vah, tricked out in the anthro-pomorphic attributes of 
Time and successive Thoughts, and think of him as a 
Person, from whom we had our Being. The tendency 
to Idolatry seems to me to lie at the root of all our 
human vices — it is our original Sin. When we dismiss 
three Persons in the Deity, only by subtracting two, we 
talk more intelligibly, but, I fear, do not feel more reli- 
giously — for God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in 

O my dear sir! it is long since we have seen each 
other — believe me, my esteem and grateful affection for 
you and Mrs. Estlin has suffered no abatement or inter- 
mission — nor can I persuade myself that my opinions, 
fully stated and fully understood, would appear to you 
to differ essentially from your own. My creed is very 
simple — my confession of Faith very brief. I approve 
altogether and embrace entirely the Religion of the 
Quakers, but exceedingly dislike the sect, and their own 
notions of their own Religion. By Quakerism I under- 
stand the opinions of George Fox rather than those of 
Barclay — who was the St. Paul of Quakerism. — I pray 

for you and yours ! 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Christmas Day, 1802. 

My DEAR SouTHEY, — I arrived at Keswick with T. 
Wedgwood on Friday afternoon, that is to say, yester- 

416 A LAKE POET [Jan. 

day, and liad tlie comfort to find that Sara was safely 
brouglit to bed, the morning before, tliat is on Thursday, 
half-past six, of a healthy Girl. I had never thought 
of a girl as a possible event ; the words child and man- 
child were perfect synonyms in my feelings. However, I 
bore the sex with great fortitude, and she shall be called 
Sara. Both Mrs. Coleridge and the Coleridgiella are as 
well as can be. I left the little one sucking at a great 
rate. Derwent and Hartley are both well. 

I was at Cote ^ in the beginning of November, and of 
course had calculated on seeing you, and, above all, on 
seeing little Edith's physiognomy, among the certain 
things of my expedition, but I had no sooner arrived at 
Cote than I was forced to quit it, T. Wedgwood having 
engaged to go into Wales with his sister. I arrived at 
Cote in the afternoon, and till late evening did not know or 
conjecture that we were to go off early in the next morn- 
ing. I do not say this for you, — you must know how 
earnestly I yearn to see you, — but for Mr. Estlin, who 
expressed himself wounded by the circumstance. When 
you see him, therefore, be so good as to mention this to 
him. I was much affected by Mrs. Coleridge's account 
of your health and eyes. God have mercy on us ! We 
are all sick, all mad, all slaves ! It is a theory of mine 
that virtue and genius are diseases of the hypochondriacal 
and scrofulous genera, and exist in a peculiar state of the 
nerves and diseased digestion, analogous to the beautiful 
diseases that colour and variegate certain trees. How- 
ever, I add, by way of comfort, that it is my faith that 
the virtue and genius produce the disease, not the disease 
the virtue, etc., though when present it fosters them. 
Heaven knows, there are fellows who have more vices 
than scabs, and scabs countless, with fewer ideas than 
plaisters. As to my own health it is very indifferent. I 
am exceedingly temperate in everything, abstain wholly 

^ The residence of Josiah Wedgwood. 

Sara Coleridg'e 


from wine, spirits, or fermented liquors, almost wholly 
from tea, abjure all fermentable and vegetable food, bread 
excepted, and use that sparingly ; live almost entirely on 
eggs, fish, flesh, and fowl, and thus contrive not to be ill. 
But well I am not, and in this climate never shall be. A 
deeply ingrained though mild scrofula is diffused through 
me, and is a very Proteus. I am fully determined to try 
Teneriffe or Gran Canaria, influenced to prefer them to 
Madeira solely by the superior cheapness of living. The 
climate and country are heavenly, the inhabitants Pa- 
pishes, all of whom I would burn with fire and faggot, 
for what did n't they do to us Christians under bloody 
Queen Mary ? Oh the Devil sulphur-roast them ! I 
would have no mercy on them, unless they drowned all 
their priests, and then, spite of the itch (which they have 
in an inveterate degree, rich and poor, gentle and simple, 
old and young, male and female), would shake hands 
with them ungloved. 

By way of one impudent half line in this meek and 
mild letter — will you go with me? "I" and "you" 
mean mine and yours, of course. Kemember you are to 
give me Thomas Aquinas and Scotus Erigena. 

God bless you and S. T. Coleeidge. 

I can have the best letters and recommendation. My 
love and their sisters to Mary and Edith, and if you see 
Mrs. Fricker, be so good as to tell her that she will hear 
from me or Sara in the course of ten days. 


[The text of this letter, which was first published in 

Cottle's " Eeminiscences," 1849, p. 450, has been collated 

with that of the original.] 

Keswick, January 9, 1803. 

My DEAR Wedgwood, — I send you two letters, 
one from your dear sister, the second from Sharp, by 

418 A LAKE POET [Jan. 

wliicli you will see at what short notice I must be off, if I 
go to the Canaries. If your last plan continue in full 
force in your mind, of course I have not even the phantom 
of a wish thitherward struggling, but if aught have hap- 
pened to you, in the things without, or in the world within, 
to induce you to change the plan in itself, or the plan 
relatively to me, I think I could raise the money, at all 
events, and go and see. But I would a thousand-fold 
rather go with you whithersoever you go. I shall be 
anxious to hear how you have gone on since I left you. 
Shoidd you decide in favour of a better climate some- 
where or other, the best scheme I can think of is that in 
some part of Italy or Sicily which we both liked. I 
would look out for two houses. Wordsworth and his 
family would take the one, and I the other, and then you 
might have a home either with me, or, if you thought of 
Mr. and Mrs. Luff, under this modification, one of your 
own ; and in either case you would have neighbours, and 
so return to England when the homesickness pressed 
heavy upon you, and back to Italy when it was abated, 
and the climate of England began to poison your com- 
forts. So you would have abroad, in a genial climate, cer- 
tain comforts of society among simple and enlightened 
men and women ; and I should be an alleviation of the 
pang which you will necessarily feel, always, as often as 
you quit your own family. 

I know no better plan : for travelling in search of 
objects is, at best, a dreary business, and whatever excite- 
ment it might have had, you nnist have exhausted it. 
God bless you, my dear friend. I write with dim eyes, 
for indeed, indeed, my heart is very full of affectionate 
sorrowful thoughts toward jj^ou. 

I found Mrs. Coleridge not so weU as I expected, but 
she is better to-day — and I, myself, write with difficulty, 
with all the fingers but one of my right hand very much 
swollen. Before I was half up ICirhst07ie the storm had 


wetted me through and through, and before I reached the 
top it was so wild and outrageous, that it would have been 
unmanly to have suffered the poor woman (guide) to con- 
tinue pushing on, up against such a torrent of wind and 
rain ; so I dismounted and sent her home with the storm 
to her back. I am no novice in moimtain mischiefs, but 
such a storm as this was I never witnessed, combining the 
intensity of the cold with the violence of the wind and 
rain. The rain-drops were pelted or, rather, slung against 
my face by the gusts, just like splinters of flint, and I felt 
as if every drop cut my flesh. My hands were all shrivelled 
up like a washerwoman's, and so benumbed that I was 
obliged to carry my stick under my arm. Oh, it was a wild 
business ! Such hurry-skurry of clouds, such volleys of 
sound ! In spite of the wet and the cold, I should have 
had some pleasure in it but for two vexations : first, an 
almost intolerable pain came into my right eye, a smart- 
ing and hurning pain ; and secondly, in consequence of 
riding with such cold water under my seat, extremely un- 
easy and burthensome feelings attacked my groin, so that, 
what with the pain from the one, and the alarm from the 
other, I had no enjoyment at all ! 

Just at the brow of the hill I met a man dismounted, 
who could not sit on horseback. He seemed quite 
scared by the uproar, and said to me, with much feeling, 
" Oh, sir, it is a perilous buffeting, but it is worse for you 
than for me, for I have it at my back." However I got 
safely over, and, immediately, all was calm and breath- 
less, as if it was some mighty fountain just on the summit 
of Kirkstone, that shot forth its volcano of air, and pre- 
cipitated huge streams of invisible lava down the road to 

I went on to Grasmere. I was not at all unwell when 
I arrived there, though wet of course to the skin. My 
right eye had nothing the matter with it, either to the sight 
of others, or to my own feelings, but I had a bad night, 

420 A LAKE POET [Apkil 

with distressful dreams, chiefly about my eye ; and awaking 
often in the dark I thought it was the effect of mere recol- 
lection, but it appeared in the morning that my right eye 
was bloodshot, and the lid swollen. That morning, how- 
ever, I walked home, and before I reached Keswick my 
eye was quite well, but I felt unwell all over. Yesterday 
I continued unusually unwell all over me till eight o'clock 
in the evening. I took no laudanum or opium., but at 
eight o'clock, unable to bear the stomach uneasiness and 
aching of my limbs, I took two large teaspoonsfuU of 
ether in a wine-glass of camphorated gum water, and a 
third teaspoonfuU at ten o'clock, and I received complete 
relief, — my body calmed, my sleep placid, — but when I 
awoke in the morning my right hand, with three of the 
fingers, was swollen and inflamed. . . . This has been a 
very rough attack, but though I am much weakened by 
it, and look sickly and haggard, yet I am not out of heart. 
Such a hout., such a " perilous buffeting," was enough to 
have hurt the health of a strong man. Few constitutions 
can bear to be long wet through in intense cold. I fear 
it will tire you to death to read this prolix scrawled 
story, but my health, I know, interests you. Do continue 
to send me a few lines by the market people on Friday — 
I shall receive it on Tuesday morning. 

Affectionately, dear friend, yours ever, 


[Addressed " T. Wedgwood, Esq., C. Luff's Esq., Glenridding, 


[London], Monday, April 4, 1803. 
My dear Sara, — I have taken my place for Wednes- 
day night, and, barring accidents, shall arrive at Penrith 
on Friday noon. If Friday be a fine morning, that is, 
if it do not rain, you will get Mr. Jackson to send a lad 
with a horse or pony to Penruddock. The boy ought to 

1803] TO HIS WIFE 421 

be at Penruddock by twelve o'clock that bis horse may 
bait and have a feed of corn. But if it be rain, there is 
no choice but that I must take a chaise. At all events, if 
it please God, I shall be with you by Friday, five o'clock, 
at the latest. You had better dine early. I shall take 
an egg or two at Penrith and drink tea at home. For 
more than a fortnight we have had burning July weather. 
The effect on my health was manifest, but Lamb ob- 
jected, very sensibly, " How do you know what part may 
not be owing to the excitement of bustle and company ? " 
On Friday night I was unwell and restless, and uneasy in 
limbs and stomach, though I had been extremely regular. 
I told Lamb on Saturday morning that I guessed the 
weather had changed. But there was no mark of it ; it 
was hotter than ever. On Saturday evening my right 
knee and both my ankles swelled and were very painful ; 
and within an hour after there came a storm of wind and 
rain. It continued raining the whole night. Yesterday 
it was a fine day, but cold ; to-day the same, but I am a 
great deal better, and the swelling in my ankle is gone 
down and that in my right knee much decreased. Lamb 
observed that he was glad he had seen all this with his 
own eyes ; he now hneio that my illness was truly linked 
with the weather, and no whim or restlessness of disposi- 
tion in me. It is curious, but I have found that the 
weather-glass changed on Friday night, the very hour 
that I found myself unwell. I will try to bring down 
something for Hartley, though toys are so outrageously 
dear, and I so short of money, that I shall be puzzled. 

To-day I dine again with Sotheby. He had informed 
me that ten gentlemen who have met me at his house 
desired him to solicit me to finish the " Christabel," and 
to permit them to publish it for me ; and they engaged 
that it should be in paper, printing, and decorations the 
most magnificent thing that had hitherto appeared. Of 
course I declined it. The lovely lady shan't come to 

422 A LAKE POET [July 

that pass ! Many times rather would I have It printed at 
Soulby's on the true ballad paper. However, it was 
civil, and Sotheby is very civil to me. 

I had purposed not to speak of Mary Lamb, but I had 
better write it than tell it. The Thursday before last she 
met at Riokman's a Mr. Babb, an old friend and admirer 
of her mother. The next day she smiled in an ominous 
Avay ; on Sunday she told her brother that she was get- 
ting bad, with great agony. On Tuesday morning she 
laid hold of me with violent agitation and talked wildly 
about George Dyer. I told Charles there was not a 
moment to lose ; and I did not lose a moment, but went 
for a hackney-coach and took her to the private mad- 
house at Hugsden. She was quite calm, and said it was 
the best to do so. But she wept bitterly two or three 
times, yet all in a calm way. Charles is cut to the heart. 
You will send this note to Grasmere or the contents of it, 
though, if I have time, I shall probably write myseK to 
them to-day or to-morrow. 

Yours affectionately, S. T. Coleridge. 


Keswick, Wednesday, July 2, 1803. 
My DEAR SouTHEY, — You have had much illness as 
well as I, but I thank God for you, you have never been 
equally diseased in voluntary power with me. I knew 
a lady who was seized with a sort of asthma which she 
knew would be instantly relieved by a dose of ether. 
She had the full use of her limbs, and was not an arm's- 
length from the bell, yet could not command voluntary 
power sufficient to pull it, and might have died but for 
the accidental coming in of her daughter. From such as 
these the doctrines of materialism and mechanical neces- 
sity have been deduced ; and it is some small argument 
against the truth of these doctrines that I have perhaps 
had a more various experience, a more intuitive know- 


ledge of such facts than most men, and yet I do not 
believe these doctrines. My health is middling. If this 
hot weather continue, I hope to go on endurably, and oh, 
for peace ! for I forbode a miserable winter in this coun- 
try. Indeed, I am rather induced to determine on win- 
tering in Madeira, rather than staying at home. I have 
enclosed ten pounds for Mrs. Fricker. Tell her I wish it 
were in my power to increase this poor half year's mite ; 
but ill health keeps me poor. Bella is with us, and 
seems likely to recover. I have not seen the " Edinburgh 
Review." The truth is that Edinburgh is a place of lit- 
erary gossip, and even / have had my portion of puff there, 
and of course my portion of hatred and envy. One man 
puffs me up — he has seen and talked with me ; another 
hears him, goes and reads my poems, written when almost 
a boy, and candidly and logically hates me, because he does 
not admire my poems, in the proportion in which one of 
his acquaintance had admired me. It is difficult to say 
whether these reviewers do you harm or good. 

You read me at Bristol a very interesting piece of 
casuistry from Father Somebody, the author, I believe, of 
the " Theatre Critic," respecting a double infant. If you 
do not immediately want it, or if my using it in a book 
of logic, with proper acknowledgment, will not interfere 
with your use of it, I should be extremely obliged to you 
if you would send it me without delay. I rejoice to 
hear of the progress of your History. The only thing I 
dread is the division of the European and Colonial His- 
tory. In style you have only to beware of short, biblical, 
and pointed periods. Your general style is delightfully 
natural and yet striking. 

You may expect certain explosions in the " Morning 
Post," Coleridge versus Fox, in about a week. It grieved 
me to hear (for I have a sort of affection for the man) 
from Sharp, that Fox had not read my two letters, but 
had heard of them, and that they were mine, and had 

424 A LAKE POET [July 

expressed himself more wounded by the circumstance 
than anything that had happened since Burke's business. 
Sharp told this to Wordsworth, and told Wordsworth 
that he had been so affected by Fox's manner, that he 
himself had declined reading the two letters. Yet Sharp 
himself thinks my opinions right and true ; but Fox is 
not to be attacked, and why? Because he is an amiable 
man ; and not by me, because he had thought highly of 
me, etc., etc. O Christ ! this is a pretty age in the arti- 
cle morality ! When I cease to love Truth best of all 
things, and Liberty the next best, may I cease to live : 
nay, it is my creed that I should thereby cease to live, for 
as far as anything can be called probable in a subject so 
dark, it seems to me most probable that our immortality 
is to be a work of our own hands. 

All the children are well, and love to hear Bella talk 
of Margaret. Love to Edith and to Mary and 


I have received great delight and instruction from 
Scotus Erigena. He is clearly the modern founder of 
the school of Pantheism ; indeed he expressly defines the 
divine nature as qum fit et facit, et creat et creatur ; and 
repeatedly declares creation to be manifestation^ the 
epiphany of philosophers. The eloquence with which he 
writes astonished me, but he had read more Greek than 
Latin, and was a Platonist rather than an Ai'istotelian. 
There is a good deal of omne mens oculus in the notion 
of the dark ages, etc., taken intensively ; in extension it 
might be true. They had tvells : we are flooded ankle 
high : and what comes of it but grass rank or rotten ? 
Our age eats from that poison-tree of knowledge yclept 
" Too-Much and Too-Little." Have you read Paley's last 
book ? 1 Have you it to review ? I could make a dashing 
review of it. 

1 Paley's last work, " Natural Theology ; or, Evidences of the Existence 



Keswick, July, 1803. 

My dear Southey, — ... I write now to propose a 
scheme,! or rather a rude outline o£ a scheme, of your grand 
work. What harm can a proposal do ? If it be no pain 
to you to reject it, it will be none to me to have it rejected. 
I would have the work entitled Bibliotheca Britannica, or 
an History of British Literature, bibliographical, biograph- 
ical, and critical. The two last volumes I would have to 
be a chronological catalogue of all noticeable or extant 
books ; the others, be the number six or eight, to consist 
entirely of separate treatises, each giving a critical biblio- 
biographical history of some one subject. I will, with 
great pleasure, join you in learning Welsh and Erse ; and 
you, I, Turner, and Owen,^ might dedicate ourselves for 
the first half-year to a complete history of all Welsh, 
Saxon, and Erse books that are not translations that are 
the native growth of Britain. If the Spanish neutrality 
continues, I will go in October or November to Biscay, 
and throw light on the Basque. 

Let the next volume contain the history of English 
poetry and poets, in which I would include all prose truly 
poetical. The first half of the second volume should be 
dedicated to great single names, Chaucer and Spenser, 
Shakespeare, Milton and Taylor, Dryden and Pope ; the 
poetry of witty logic, — Swift, Fielding, Kichardson, 
Sterne ; I write par hasard, but I mean to say all great 
names as have either formed epochs in our taste, or such, 
at least, as are representative ; and the great object to be 

and Attributes of A Deity, col- ^ Southey's correspondence con- 

lected from the Appearances of Na- tains numerous references to the 

tare," was published in 1802. historian Sharon Turner [1768- 

1 For Southey's well known re- 1847], and to William Owen, the 

joinder to this " ebullience of sche- translator of the Mabinogion and 

matism," see Life and Correspond- author of the Welsh Paradise Lost, 
ence, ii. 220-223. 

426 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

in each instance to determine, first, the true merits and 
demerits of the books ; secondly, what o£ these belong to 
the age — what to the author quasi peculium. The second 
half of the second volume should be a history of poetry 
and romances, everywhere interspersed with biography, 
but more flowing, more consecutive, more bibliographical, 
chronological, and complete. The third volume I would 
have dedicated to English prose, considered as to style, as 
to eloquence, as to general irapressiveness ; a history of 
styles and manners, their causes, their birth-places and 
parentage, their analysis. . . . 

These three volumes would be so generally interesting, 
so exceedingly entertaining, that you might bid fair for 
a sale of the work at large. Then let the fourth volume 
take up the history of metaphysics, theology, medicine, 
alchemy, common canon, and Roman law, from Alfred to 
Henry VII. ; in other words, a history of the dark ages in 
Great Britain : the fifth volume — carry on metaphysics 
and ethics to the present day in the first half ; the second 
half, comprise the theology of all the reformers. In the 
fourth volume there would be a grand article on the 
philosophy of the theology of the Roman Catholic reli- 
gion ; in this (fifth volume), under different names, — 
Hooker, Baxter, Biddle, and Fox, — the spirit of the the- 
ology of all the other parts of Christianity. The sixth and 
seventh volumes must comprise all the articles you can 
get, on all the separate arts and sciences that have been 
treated of in books since the Reformation ; and, by this 
time, the book, if it answered at all, would have gained so 
high a reputation that you need not fear having whom you 
liked to write the different articles — medicine, surgery, 
chemistry, etc., etc., navigation, travellers, voyagers, etc., 
etc. If I go into Scotland, shall I engage Walter Scott 
to write the history of Scottish poets ? Tell me, however, 
what you think of the plan. It would have one prodigious 
advantage : whatever accident stopped the work, would 


only prevent the future good, not mar the past ; each vol- 
ume would be a great and valuable work per se. Then 
each volume would awaken a new interest, a new set of 
readers, who would buy the past volumes of course ; then 
it would allow you ample time and opportunities for the 
slavery of the catalogue volumes, which should be at the 
same time an index to the work, which would be in very 
truth a pandect of knowledge, alive and swarming with 
hmnan life, feeling, incident. By the bye, what a strange 
abuse has been made of the word encyclopaedia ! It sig- 
nifies properly, grammar, logic, rhetoric, and ethics, and 
metaphysics, which last, explaining the ultimate principle 
of grammar — log. — rhet., and eth. — formed a circle of 
knowledge. . . . To call a huge unconnected miscellany 
of the omne scibile, in an arrangement determined by the 
accident of initial letters, an encyclopaedia is the impudent 
ignorance of your Presbyterian book-makers. Good night ! 
God bless you ! S. T. C. 


Keswick, Sunday, August 7, 1803. 
(Eead the last lines first ; I send you this letter merely 
to show you how anxious I have been about your work.) 

My dear Southey, — The last three days I have 
been fighting up against a restless wish to write to you. 
I am afraid lest I should infect you with my fears rather 
than furnish you with any new arguments, give you im- 
pulses rather than motives, and prick you with spurs that 
had been dipped in the vaccine matter of my own coward- 
liness. While I wrote that last sentence, I had a vivid rec- 
ollection, indeed an ocular spectrum, of our room in College 
Street, a curious instance of association. You remember 
how incessantly in that room I used to be compounding 
these half-verbal, half-visual metaphors. It argues, I am 
persuaded, a particular state of general feeling, and I 

428 A LAKE POET [Aug. 

hold that association depends in a much greater degree on 
the recurrence of resembling states of feeling than on 
trains of ideas, that the recollection of early childhood in 
latest old age depends on and is explicable by this, and if 
this be true, Hartley's system totters. If I were asked 
how it is that very old people remember visually only the 
events of early childhood, and remember the intervening 
spaces either not at all or only verbally, I should think it 
a perfectly philosophical answer that old age remembers 
childhood by becoming " a second childhood ! " This 
explanation will derive some additional value if you would 
look into Hartley's solution of the phenomena — how flat, 
how wretched ! Believe me, Southey ! a metaphysical so- 
lution, that does not instantly tell you something in the 
heart is grievously to be suspected as apocryphal. I al- 
most think that ideas never recall ideas, as far as they are 
ideas, any more than leaves in a forest create each other's 
motion. The breeze it is that runs through them — it is 
the soul, the state of feeling. If I had said no one 
idea ever recalls another, I am confident that I coidd sup- 
port the assertion. And this is a digression. — My dear 
Southey, again and again I say, that whatever your plan 
may be, I will contrive to work for you with equal zeal 
if not with equal pleasure. But the arguments against 
your plan weigh upon me the more heavily, the more I 
reflect ; and it could not be otherwise than that I should 
feel a confirmation of them fi^om Wordsworth's complete 
coincidence — I having requested his deliberate opinion 
without having communicated an iota of my own. You 
seem to me, dear friend, to hold the dearness of a scarce 
work for a proof that the work would have a general sale, 
if not scarce. Nothing can be more fallacious than this. 
Burton's Anatomy used to sell for a guinea to two guineas. 
It was republished. Has it paid the expense of reprint- 
ing? Scarcely. Literary history informs us that most 
of those great continental bibliographies, etc., were pub- 


lished bytlie munificence of princes, or nobles, or great 
monasteries. A book from having had little or no sale, 
except among great libraries, may become so scarce that 
the number of competitors for it, though few, may be 
proportionally very great. I have observed that great 
works are nowadays bought, not for curiosity or the 
amor pi^oprius, but under the notion that they contain all 
the knoioledge a man may ever want, and if he has it on 
his shelf why there it is, as snug as if it were in his hrain. 
This has carried off the encyclopaedia, and will continue 
to do so. I have weighed most patiently what you said 
respecting the persons and classes likely to purchase a 
catalogue of all British books. I have endeavoured to 
make some rude calculation of their numbers according 
to your own numeration table, and it falls very short of 
an adequate number. Your scheme appears to be in 
short faulty, (1) because, everywhere, the generally unin- 
teresting, the catalogue part will overlay the interesting 
parts ; (2) because the first volume will have nothing in 
it tempting or deeply valuable, for there is not time or 
room for it ; (3) because it is imjDossible that any one of 
the volumes can be executed as well as they would other- 
wise be from the to-and-fro, now here, now there motion 
of the mind, and employment of the industry. Oh how I 
wish to be talking, not writing, for my mind is so fuU 
that my thoughts stifle and jam each other. And I have 
presented them as shapeless jellies, so that I am ashamed 
of what I have written — it so imperfectly expresses what 
I meant to have said. My advice certainly would be, 
that at all events you should make some classification. 
Let all the law books form a catalogue per se, and so 
forth ; otherwise it is not a book of reference, without an 
index half as large as the work itself. I see no well- 
founded objection to the jDlan which I first sent. The 
two main advantages are that, stop where you will, you 
are in harbour, you sail in an archipelago so thickly 

430 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

clustered, (that) at each island you take in a completely 
new cargo, and the former cargo is in safe housage ; and 
(2dly) that each labourer working by the piece, and not 
by the day, can give an undivided attention in some in- 
stances for three or four years, and bring to the work the 
whole weight of his interest and reputation. . . . An 
encyclopaedia appears to me a worthless monster. What 
surgeon, or physician, professed student of pure or mixed 
mathematics, what chemist or architect, would go to an 
encyclopaedia for his books ? If valuable treatises exist 
on these subjects in an encyclopaedia, they are out of their 
place — an equal hardship on the general reader, who pays 
for whole volumes which he cannot read, and on the pro- 
fessed student of that j^articular subject, who must buy a 
great work which he does not want in order to possess a 
valuable treatise, which he might otherwise have had for 
six or seven shillings. You omit those things only from 
your encyclopaedia which are excrescences — each volume 
will set up the reader, give him at once connected trains of 
thought and facts, and a delightful miscellany for lounge- 
reading. Your treatises will be long in exact proportion 
to their general interest. Think what a strange confusion 
it will make, if you speak of each book, according to its 
date, passing from an Epic Poem to a treatise on the 
treatment of sore legs ? Nobody can become an enthu- 
siast in favour of the work. ... A great change of weather 
has come on, heavy rain and wind, and I have been very 
ill, and still I am in uncomfortable restless health. I am 
not even certain whether I shall not be forced to put off 
my Scotch tour ; but if I go, I go on Tuesday. I shall 
not send off this letter till this is decided. 

God bless you and S. T. C. 

1803] TO HIS WIFE 431 


Friday afternoon, 4 o'clock, Sept. (1), [1803]. 

]My dear Sara, — I write from the Ferry of Ballater. 
. . . This is the first post since the day I left Glasgow. 
We went thence to Dumbarton (look at Stoddart's tour, 
where there is a very good view of Dimibarton Rock and 
Tower), thence to Loch Lomond, and a single house called 
Luss — horrible inhospitality and a fiend of a landlady ! 
Thence eight miles up the Lake to E. Tarbet, where the 
lake is so like UUeswater that I could scarcely see the 
difference ; crossed over the lake and by a desolate moor- 
land walked to another lake, Loch Katrine, up to a place 
called Trossachs, the Borrowdale of Scotland, and the 
only thing which really beats us. You must conceive the 
Lake of Keswick pushing itself up a mile or two into 
Borrowdale, winding round Castle Crag, and in and out 
among all the nooks and promontories, and you must im- 
agine all the mountains more detachedly built up, a gen- 
eral dislocation ; every rock its own precipice, with trees 
young and old. This will give you some faint idea of the 
place, of which the character is extreme intricacy of effect 
produced by very simple means. One rocky, high island, 
four or five promontories, and a Castle Crag, just like that 
in the gorge of Borrowdale, but not so large. It rained all 
the way, all the long, long day. We slept in a hay -loft, — 
that is, Wordsworth, I, and a young man who came in at 
the Trossachs and joined us. Dorothy had a bed in the 
hovel, whigh was varnished so rich with peat smoke an 
apartment of highly polished [oak] would have been poor 
to it — it would have wanted the metallic* lustre of the 
smoke-varnished rafters. This was [the pleasantest] 
evening I had spent since my tour ; for Wordsworth's 
hypochondriacal feelings keep him silent and self-centred. 
The next day it still was rain and rain ; the ferry-boat 
was out for the preaching, and we stayed all day in the 





ferry wet to the skin. Oh, such a wretched hovel ! But 
two Highland lassies,^ who kept house in the absence of 
the ferryman and his wife, were very kind, and one of 
them was beautiful as a vision, and put both Dorothy and 
me in mind of the Highland girl in William's "Peter 
Bell."^ We returned to E. Tarbet, I with the rheumatism 
in my head. And now William proposed to me to leave 
them and make my way on foot to Loch Katrine, the 
Trossachs, whence it is only twenty miles to Stirling, 
where the coach runs through to Edinburgh. He and 
Dorothy resolved to fight it out. I eagerly caught at the 
proposal ; for the sitting in an open carriage in the rain 
is death to me, and somehow or other I had not been quite 
comfortable. So on Monday I accompanied them to Ar- 
rochar, on purpose to see the Cobbler which had imjsressed 

^ It may be interesting to com- 
pare the following unpublished note 
from Coleridge's Scotch Journal 
■with the well known passage in 
Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal of 
her tour in the Highlands (Memoir of 
Wordsworth, i. 235) : " Next morn- 
ing we went in the boat to the end of 
the lake, and so on by the old path 
to the Garrison to the Ferry House 
by Loch Lomond, where now the Fall 
was in all its fury, and formed with 
the Ferry cottage, and the sweet 
Highland lass, a nice picture. The 
boat gone to the preaching we stayed 
all day in the comfortless hovel, 
comfortless, but the two little lassies 
did everything with such sweetness, 
and one of them, 14, with such na- 
tive elegance. Oh ! she was a divine 
creature ! The sight of the boat, 
full of Highland men and women 
and children from the preaching, ex- 
quisitely fine. We soon reached E. 
Tarbet — all the while rain. Never, 
never let me forget that small herd- 
boy in his tartan-plaid, dim-seen on 

the hilly field, and long heard ere 
seen, a melancholy voice calling to 
his cattle ! nor the beautiful har- 
mony of the heath, and the dancing 
fern, and the ever-moving birches. 
That of itself enough to make Scot- 
land visitable, its fields of heather 
giving a sort of shot silk finery in 
the apotheosis of finery. On Mon- 
day we went to Arrochar. Here I 
left W. and D. and returned myself 
to E. Tarbet, slept there, and now, 
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 1803, am to make 
my own way to Edinburgh." 

Many years after be added the 
words : " O Esteese, that thou hadst 
from thy 22nd year indeed made thy 
own way and alone ! ' ' 

2 A sweet and playful Highland girl, 
As light and beauteous as a squirrel, 
As beauteous and as wild ! 

Her dwelling was a lonely house, 
A cottage in a heathy dell ; 
And she put on her gown of green 
And left her mother at sixteen, 
And followed Peter Bell. 

Peter Bell, Part III. 

1803] TO HIS WIFE 433 

me so mucli in Mr. Wilkinson's drawings ; and there I 
parted with them, having previously sent on all my things 
to Edinburgh by a Glasgow carrier who happened to be 
at E. Tarbet. The worst thing was the money. They 
took twenty-nine guineas, and I six — all our remaining 
cash. I returned to E. Tarbet ; slept there that night ; 
the next day walked to the very head of Loch Lomond to 
Glen Falloch, where I slept at a cottage-inn, two degrees 
below John Stanley's (but the good people were very 
kind), — meaning from hence to go over the mountains to 
the head of Loch Katrine again ; but hearing from the 
gude man of the house that it was 40 miles to Glencoe 
(of which I had formed an idea from Wilkinson's draw- 
ings), and having found myself so happy alone (such 
blessing is there in perfect liberty !) I walked off. I have 
walked forty-five miles since then, and, except during the 
last mile, I am sure I may say I have not met with ten 
houses. For eighteen miles there are but two habitations ! 
and all that way I met no sheep, no cattle, only one goat ! 
All through moorlands with huge mountains, some craggy 
and bare, bvit the most green, with deep pinky channels 
worn by torrents. Glencoe interested me, but rather dis- 
appointed me. There was no suj)erincumbency of crag, 
and the crags not so bare or precipitous as I had expected. 
I am now going to cross the ferry for Fort William, for I 
have resolved to eke out my cash by all sorts of self-denial, 
and to walk along the whole line of the Foists. I am un- 
fortunately shoeless ; there is no town where I can get a 
pair, and I have no money to spare to buy them, so I ex- 
pect to enter Perth barefooted. I burnt my shoes in drying 
them at the boatman's hovel on Loch Katrine, and I have 
by this means hurt my heel. Likewise my left leg is a 
little inflamed, and the rheumatism in the right of my 
head afflicts me sorely when I begin to grow warm in my 
bed, chiefly my right eye, ear, cheek, and the three teeth ; 
but, nevertheless, I am enjoying myself, having Nature 

434 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

with solitude and liberty — the liberty natural and solitary, 
the solitude natural and free ! But you must contrive some- 
how or other to borrow ten pounds, or, if that cannot be, 
five pounds, for me, and send it without delay, directed 
to me at the Post Office, Perth. I guess I shall be there 
in seven days or eight at the furthest ; and your letter will 
be two days getting thither (counting the day you put it 
into the office at Keswick as nothing) ; so you must calcu- 
late, and if this letter does not reach you in time, that is, 
within five days from the date hereof, you must then direct 
to Edinburgh. I will make five pounds do (you must 
borrow of Mr. Jackson), and I must heg my way for the 
last three or four days ! It is useless repining, but if I 
had set off myself in the Mail for Glasgow or Stirling, 
and so gone by foot, as I am now doing, I should have 
saved twenty-five pounds ; but then Wordsworth would 
have lost it. 

I have said nothing of you or my dear children. God 
bless us all ! I have but one untried misery to go through, 
the loss of Hartley or Derwent, ay, or dear little Sara! 
In my health I am middling. While I can walk twenty- 
four miles a day, with the excitement of new objects, I 
can 8U])j)0Tt myself ; but still my sleep and dreams are dis- 
tressful, and I am hopeless. I take no opiates . . . nor 
have I any temptation ; for since my disorder has taken 
this asthmatic turn opiates produce none but positively 
unpl[easant effects]. 

[No signature.] 

Mrs. Coleridge, 

Greta Hall, Keswick, Cumberland, S. Britain. 

[Edinburgh], Sunday night, 9 o'clock, September 10, 1803. 
My dearest Southey, — I arrived here half an hour 
ago, and have only read your letters — scarce read them. 
— O dear friend ! it is idle to talk of what I feel — I am 


stunned at present by this beginning to write, making a 
beginning of living feeling within me. Whatever com- 
fort I can be to you I will — I have no aversions, no 
dislikes that interfere with you — whatever is necessary 
or proper for you becomes i^i so facto agreeable to me. 
I will not stay a day in Edinburgh — or only one to hunt 
out my clothes. I cannot chitchat with Scotchmen while 
you are at Keswick, childless ! ^ Bless you, my dear 
Southey ! I will knit myself far closer to you than I 
have hitherto done, and my children shall be yours till 
it please God to send you another, 

I have been a wild journey, taken up for a spy and 
clapped into Fort Augustus, and I am afraid they may 
[have] frightened poor Sara by sending her off a scrap 
of a letter I was writing to her. I have walked 263 miles 
in eight days, so I must have strength somewhere, but my 
spirits are dreadful, owing entirely to the horrors of every 
night — I truly dread to sleep. It is no shadow with 
me, but substantial misery foot-thick, that makes me 
sit by my bedside of a morning and cry. — I have aban- 
doned all opiates, except ether be one . . . And when 
you see me drink a glass of spirit-and-water, except by 
prescription of a physician, you shall despise me, — but 
still I cannot get quiet rest. 

When on my bed my limbs I lay, 
It hath not been my use to pray 
With moving lips or bended knees ; 
But silently, by slow degrees, 
s My spirit I to Love compose, 
In humble trust my eyelids close, 
With reverential resignation, 
No wish conceiv'd, no thought exprest, 
Only a Sense of supplication, 
10 A Sense o'er all my soul imprest 

1 Margaret Southey, who was hom in Septemher, 1802, died in the latter 
part of August, 1803. 



That I am weak, yet not unblest, 

Since round me, in me, everywhere 

Eternal strength and Goodness are ! — 

But yester-night I pray'd aloud 

15 In anguish and in agony. 

Awaking from the fiendish crowd 

Of shapes and thouglits that tortur'd me ! 

Desire with loathing strangely mixt, 

On wild or hateful objects fixt. 

20 Sense of revenge, the powerless will, 

Still baffled and consuming still ; 

Sense of intolerable wrong, 

And men whom I despis'd made strong ! 

Vain glorious threats, unmanly vaunting, 

25 Bad men my boasts and fury taunting ; 

Rage, sensual passion, mad'ning Brawl, 

And shame and terror over all ! 

Deeds to be hid that were not hid. 

Which all confus'd I might not know, 

30 "Whether I suffer' d or I did : 

For all was Horror, Guilt, and Woe, 

My own or others still the same, 

Life-stifling Fear, soul-stifling Shame ! 

Thus two nights pass'd : the night's dismay 

85 Sadden'd and stunn'd the boding day. 

I fear'd to sleep : Sleep seemed to be 

Disease's worst malignity. 

The third night, when my own loud scream 

Had freed me from the fiendish dream, 

40 O'ercome by sufferings dark and wild. 

I wept as I had been a child ; 

And having thus by Tears subdued 

My Trouble to a milder mood. 

Such punishments, I thought, were due 

46 To Natures, deepliest stain'd with Sin ; 

Still to be stirring up anew 

The self-created Hell within. 


The Horror of the crimes to view, 

To know and loathe, yet wish to do ! 
50 With such let fiends make mockery — 

But I — Oh, wherefore this on vie ? 

Frail is my soul, yea, strengthless wholly, 

Unequal, restless, melancholy ; 

But free from Hate and sensual Folly ! 
55 To live belov'd is all I need, 

And whom I love, I love indeed, 
And etc., etc., etc., etc.^ 

I do not know how I came to scribble down these 
verses to you — my heart was aching, my head all con- 
fused — but they are, doggerel as they may be, a true 
portrait of my nights. What to do, I am at a loss ; for 
it is hard thus to be withered, having the faculties and 
attainments which I have. We will soon meet, and I 
wiU do all I can to console poor Edith. — O dear, dear 
Southey ! my head is sadly confused. After a rapid 
walk of thirty-three miles your letters have had the effect 
of perfect intoxication in my head and eyes. Change ! 
change ! change ! O God of Eternity ! When shall we be 
at rest in thee ? 

S. T. Coleridge. 


Edinburgh, Tuesday morning, September 13, 1803. 

My DEAR Southey, — I wrote you a strange letter, I 
fear. But, in truth, yours affected my wretched stomach, 
and my head, in such a way that I wrote mechanically in 
the wake of the first vivid idea. No conveyance left or 
leaves this place for Carlisle earlier than to-morrow morn- 

^ The " Pains of Sleep " was pub- not materially difPer from the pub- 
lished for the first time, together with lished version. A transcript of the 
" Christabel " and " Kubla Khan," in same poem was sent to Poole in a 
1816. With the exception of the letter dated October 3, 1803. Poetical 
insertion of the remarkable lines 52- Works, p. 170, and Editor's Note, pp. 
64, the first draft of the poem does 631, 632. 

438 A LAKE POET [Sept. 

ing, for wliicli I have taken my place. If the coachman 
do not turn Panaceist, and cure all my ills by breaking my 
neck, I shall be at Carlisle on Wednesday, midnight, and 
whether I shall go on in the coach to Penrith, and walk 
from thence, or walk ofP from Carlisle at once, depends on 
two circumstances, first, whether the coach goes on with 
no other than a common bait to Penrith, and secondly, 
whether, if it should not do so, I can trust my clothes, 
etc., to the coachman safely, to be left at Penrith. There 
is but eight miles difference in the walk, and eight or nine 
shillings diffei^ence in the expense. At all events, I trust 
that I shall be with you on Thursday by dinner time, if you 
dine at half -past two or three o'clock. God bless you ! I will 
go and call on Elmsley.^ What a wonderful city Edin- 
burgh 2 is ! What alternation of height and depth ! A 
city looked at in the polish'd back of a Brobdingnag spoon 
held lengthways, so enormously stretched-ujj are the houses ! 
When I first looked down on it, as the coach drove up on 
the higher street, I cannot express what I felt — such a 
section of wasps' nests striking you with a sort of bastard 
sublimity from the enormity and infinity of its littleness — 
the infinity swelling out the mind, the enormity striking 
it with wonder. I think I have seen an old plate of Mont- 
serrat that struck me with the same feeling, and I am sure 
I have seen huge quarries of lime and free stone in which 
the shafts or strata stood perpendicularly instead of hori- 

1 The Rev. Peter Elmsley, the letter to Wynn, dated October 20, 

well known scholar, who had been 1S05 : " You cross a valley (once a 

a school and college friend of loch) by a high bridge, and the back 

Southey's, was at this time resident of the old city appears on the edge 

at Edinburgh. The Edinburgh He- of this depth — so vast, so irregular 

view had been founded the year be- — with such an outline of roofs and 

fore, and Elmsley was among the chimneys, that it looks like the ruins 

earliest contributors. His name f re- of a giant's palace. I never saw any- 

quently recurs in Southey's corre- thing so impressive as the first sight 

spondence. of this ; there was a wild red sunset 

^ Compare Southey's first impres- slanting along it." Selections from 

sions of Edinburgh, contained in a the Letters of R. Southey, i. 342. 


zontally with the same high thin slices and corresponding 
interstices. I climbed last night to the crags just below 
Arthur's Seat — itself a rude triangle-shaped-base cliff, and 
looked down on the whole city and firth — the sun then 
setting behind the magnificent rock, crested by the cas- 
tle. The firth was full of ships, and I counted fifty-four 
heads of mountains, of which at least forty-four were cones 
or pyramids. The smoke was rising from ten thousand 
houses, each smoke from some one family. It was an 
affecting sight to me ! I stood gazing at the setting sun, 
so tranquil to a passing look, and so restless and vibrating 
to one who looked stedf ast ; and then, all at once, turning 
my eyes down upon the city, it and all its smokes and fig- 
ures became all at once dipped in the brightest blue-purple : 
such a sight that I almost grieved when my eyes recovered 
their natural tone ! Meantime, Arthur's Crag, close be- 
hind me, was in dark blood-like crimson, and the sharp- 
shooters were behind exercising minutely, and had chosen 
that place on account of the fine thunder echo which, in- 
deed, it would be scarcely possible for the ear to distin- 
guish from thunder. The passing a day or two, quite 
unknown, in a strange city, does a man's heart good. He 
rises " a sadder and a wiser man." 

I had not read that part in your second requesting me 
to call on Elmsley, else perhaps I should have been talk- 
ing instead of learning and feeling. 

Walter Scott is at Lasswade, five or six miles from 
Edinburgh. His house in Edinburgh is divinely situated. 
It looks up a street, a new magnificent street, full vipon 
the rock and the castle, with its zigzag walls like painters' 
lightning — the other way down upon cultivated fields, a 
fine expanse of water, either a lake or not to be distin- 
guished from one, and low pleasing hills beyond — the 
country well wooded and cheerf id. " I' faith," I exclaimed, 
" the monks formerly, but the poets now, know where to 
fix their habitations." There are about four things worth 

440 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

going into Scotland for,^ to one wlio has been in Cumber- 
land and Westmoreland : First, the views of all the 
islands at the foot of Loch Lomond from the top of the 
highest island called Inch devanna (sic) ; secondly, the 
Trossachs at the foot of Loch Katrine ; third, the chamber 
and ante-chamber of the Falls of Foyers (the fall itself is 
very fine, and so, after rain, is White-Water Dash, seven 
miles below Keswick and very like it) ; and how little dif- 
ference a height makes, you know as well as I. No fall 
of itself, perhaps, can be worth giving a long journey to 
see, to him who has seen any fall of water, but the pool 
and whole rent of the mountain is truly magnificent. 
Fourthly and lastly, the City of Edinburgh. Perhaps I 
might add Glencoe. It is at all events a good make- 
weight and very well worth going to see, if a man be a 
Tory and hate the memory of William the Third, which I 
am very willing to do ; for the more of these fellows dead 
and living one hates, the less spleen and gaU there remains 
for those with whom one is likely to have anything to do 
in real life. . . . 

I am tolerably well, meaning the day. My last night 
was not such a noisy night of horrors as three nights out 
of four are with me.^ O God ! when a man blesses the 
loud screams of agony that awake him night after night, 
night after night, and when a man's repeated night 
screams have made him a nuisance in his own house, it is 
better to die than to live. I have a joy in life that passeth 
all understanding; but it is not in its present Epiphany 
and Incarnation. Bodily torture ! All who have been 
with me can bear witness that I can bear it like an Indian. 
It is constitutional with me to sit still, and look earnestly 
upon it and ask it what it is ? Yea, often and often, the 

1 Compare Table Talk, for Sep- ^ The same sentence occurs in a 

tember 26, 1830, where a similar letter to Sir G. Beaumont, dated 

statement is made in almost the September 22, 1803. Coleorton Let' 

same words. ters, i. 6. 


seeds of Eabelaisism germinating in me, I have laughed 
aloud at my own poor metaphysical soul. But these burrs 
by day of the will and the reason, these total eclipses by 
night ! Oh, it is hard to bear them. I am complaining 
bitterly to others, I should be administrating comfort; 
but even this is one way of comfort. There are states of 
mind in which even distraction is still a diversion ; we 
must none of us hrood ; we are not made to be brooders. 
God bless you, dear friend, and 


Mrs. C. will get clean flannels ready for me. 


Greta Hall, Keswick, December 5, 1803. 
Dear Sir, — After a time of sufferings, great as mere 
bodily sufferings can well be conceived to be, and which 
the horrors of my sleep and night screams (so loud and 
so frequent as to make me almost a nuisance in my own 
house) seemed to carry beyond mere hody, counterfeiting 
as it were the tortures of guilt, and what we are told of 
the punishment of a spiritual world, I am at length a 
convalescent, but dreading such another bout as much as 
I dare dread a thing which has no immediate connection 
with my conscience. My left hand is swollen and in- 
flamed, and the least attempt to bend the fingers very 
painful, though not half as much so as I could wish ; for 
if I could but fix this Jack-o'-lanthorn of a disease in my 
hand or foot, I should expect complete recovery in a year 
or two ! But though I have no hope of this, I have a 
persuasion strong as fate, that from twelve to eighteen 
months' residence in a genial climate would send me back 
to dear old England a sample of the first resurrection. 
Mr. Wordsworth, who has seen me in all my illnesses for 

1 The MS. of this letter was given to whom it was addressed, except 
to my father by the Rev. Dr. Wre- that he was " Matthew Coates, Esq., 
ford. I know nothing of the person of Bristol." 

442 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

nearly four years, and noticed this strange dependence 
on the state of my moral feelings and the state of the 
atmosphere conjointly, is decidedly of the same opinion. 
Accordingly, after many sore struggles of mind from 
reluctance to quit my children for so long a time, I have 
arranged my affairs fully and finally, and hope to set sail 
for Madeira in the first vessel that clears out from Liver- 
pool for that place. Robert Southey, who lives with us, 
informed me that Mrs. Matthev/ Coates had a near relative 
(a brother, I believe) in that island, the Dr. Adams ^ who 
wrote a very nice little pamphlet on Madeira, relative to 
the different sorts of consumption, and which I have now 
on my desk. I need not say that it would be a great 
comfort to me to be introduced to him by a letter from 
you or Mrs. Coates, entreating him to put me in a way of 
living as cheaply as possible. I have no appetites, pas- 
sions, or vanities which lead to expense ; it is now absolute 
habit to me, indeed, to consider my eating and drinking 
as a course of medicine. In books only am I intemperate 
— they have been both bane and blessing to me. For 
the last three years I have not read less than eight hours 
a day whenever I have been well enough to be out of bed, 
or even to sit up in it. Quiet, therefore, a comfortable 
bed and bedroom, and still better than that, the comfort 
of kind faces, English tongues, and English hearts now 
and then, — this is the sum total of my wants, as it is a 
thing which I need. I am far too contented with solitude. 
The same fullness of mind, the same crowding of thoughts 
and constitutional vivacity of feeling which makes me 
sometimes the first fiddle, and too often a watchman's 
rattle in society, renders me likewise independent of its 
excitements. However, I am wondrovisly calmed down 
since you saw me — perhaps through this unremitting 
disease, affliction, and self-discipline. 

1 Dr. Joseph Adams, the biogra- mended Coleridge to the care of 
pher of Hunter, who in 1816 recom- Mr. James Gillman. 


Mrs. Coleridge desires me to remember her with re- 
spectful regards to Mrs. Coates, and to enquire into the 
history of your little family. I have three children, 
Hartley, seven years old, Derwent, three years, and 
Sara, one year on the 23d of this month. Hartley is 
considered a genius by Wordsworth and Southey ; indeed 
by every one who has seen much of him. But what is of 
much more consequence and much less doubtful, he has 
the sweetest temper and most awakened moral feelings of 
any child I ever saw. He is very backward in his book- 
learning, cannot write at all, and a very lame reader. 
We have never been anxious about it, taking it for 
granted that loving me, and seeing how I love books, he 
would come to it of his own accord, and so it has proved, 
for in the last month he has made more progress than in 
all his former life. Having learnt everything almost 
from the mouths of people whom he loves, he has con- 
nected with his words and notions a passion and a feeling 
which would appear strange to those who had seen no 
children but such as had been taught almost everything 
in books. Derwent is a large, fat, beautiful child, quite 
the ^^Hc/e of the village, as Hartley is the darling. 
Southey says wickedly that " all Hartley's guts are in 
his brains, and all Derwent's brains are in his guts." 
Verily the constitutional differences in the children are 
great indeed. From earliest infancy Hartley was absent, 
a mere dreamer at his meals, put the food into his mouth 
by one effort, and made a second effort to remember it 
was there and swallow it. With little Derwent it is a 
time of rapture and jubilee, and any story that has not 
pie or cahe in it comes very flat to him. Yet he is but a 
baby. Our girl is a darling little thing, with large blue 
eyes, a quiet creature that, as I have often said, seems to 
bask in a sunshine as mild as moonlight, of her own hap- 
piness. Oh ! bless them ! Next to the Bible, Shake- 
speare, and Milton, they are the three books from which I 

444 A LAKE POET [Dec. 

have learned tlie most, and the most Important and with 
the greatest delight. 

I have been thus prolix about me and mine purposely, 
to induce you to tell me something of yourself and yours. 

Believe me, I have never ceased to think of you with 
respect and a sort of yearning. You were the first man 
from whom I heard that article of my faith enunciated 
which is the nearest to my heart, — the pure fountain of 
all my moral and religious feelings and comforts, — I 
mean the absolute Impersonality of the Deity. 

I remain, my dear sir, with unfeigned esteem and with 
good wishes, ever yours, 

S. T. Coleridge. 


V. -^ 

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